Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid are two of the most talked about rookies in the NHL. They are both generational players who are expected to lift their teams out of the bottom of the league and into the playoffs. With McDavid out with an injury, Eichel and his performances have been put under the microscope.
The second overall pick in the 2015 Draft made a huge impact for his team during his first game against the Ottawa Senators. He scored a goal and played almost 22 minutes during his first NHL regular season game!
The 19-year-old rookie scored four more goals after his first game and has a total of five goals in 13 games. Despite having only five points in 13 games because he did not get any assists, Eichel has been a tremendous player for the Sabres.
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Five goals in 13 games is definitely not considered to be a good rate of production for any forward in the league. However, Jack Eichel plays for one of the worst offensive teams in the league. The Buffalo Sabres scored the least goals last season with only 161 goals in 82 NHL games. This year, the Sabres have 29 goals in thirteen games which is not much better. The fact that Buffalo has such a weak offense limits Eichel's ability to produce at a high level.
Furthermore, Eichel's line mates Johan Larsson and Jamie McGinn have had an extremely hard time scoring or contributing to the play in general. Most of Eichel's goals so far this season are single hand efforts with no other assists from any other Sabres' players.
Despite his lack of production, Eichel has done a spectacular job in adjusting to the NHL. The 201 pound rookie has been a physical presence on the ice and has constantly showed his ability to utilize his speed and strength in his games. The 19 year old can either manhandle or out-skate his opponents to score goals or create offensive opportunities.
The talented forward also earned praise from his coach Dan Bylsma for his impressive defensive play during odd man rushes and other situations where defense is needed.
Eichel is clearly a great two-way player but, best thing is, he is still developing, and he still has plenty of hockey ahead of him.