Why Eichel Is Going to Go Off Next Season

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There is always pressure when you are a high pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

As soon as you come into the league, you are expected to be the team’s savior. You are expected to help your team win, produce, and be one of your team’s best players. You are supposed to do these things every single season.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel is a perfect example of this. Taken as the second overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft behind Connor McDavid, who was taken with the first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, Eichel, 26, was supposed to be everything and more for the Sabres.

For the most part, he was able to produce on a consistent basis for the Sabres. Here are his point totals:

  • 2015-16: 56 points in 81 games
  • 2016-17: 57 points in 61 games
  • 2017-18: 64 points in 67 games
  • 2018-19: 82 points in 77 games
  • 2019-20: 78 points in 68 games
  • 2020-21: 18 points in 21 games

Full Jack Eichel Stats Here

Putting up points with the Sabres was never a problem for Eichel. Rather, getting injured and being on a winning hockey team was always an issue.

In his six seasons in Buffalo, Eichel never made the playoffs and had to deal with various injuries. Only once in his six years did he play a full season.

That all changed when Eichel was traded by the Sabres to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, a top 10 protected first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. As soon as he got to Vegas, things turned bright in a big way for Eichel.

Not only did Eichel get to play in the playoffs for the first time this season, but he also won a Stanley Cup for the first time. What could not be done in Buffalo in six seasons, Eichel accomplished in two with the Golden Knights.

Having now won a Cup, I believe that Eichel is going to have a monster season next year for the Vegas Golden Knights. For starters, he no longer has to carry the pressure of delivering a Cup to a franchise.

When Eichel was a Sabre, he was the one that was supposed to get them back into the Stanley Cup playoffs on a consistent basis. He was not only supposed to get them there, but he was the one that was supposed to help them win a Cup.

While that did not happen in Buffalo, Eichel was able to get the monkey off of his back by helping deliver the Cup to Vegas in a big way. He led the Golden Knights in scoring in the playoffs, as he had six goals and 20 assists for 26 points in 22 games.

Secondly, production does not need to solely come from Eichel. The Golden Knights have the likes of Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo, and others that can all put up points.

Lastly, Eichel has also already shown that he can put up points with the Golden Knights. He led the team in scoring last season with 66 points in 67 games, and should he be able to find a way to stay healthy for a full season, there is no reason why his production should not go up next season.

Even before making the playoffs for the first time and winning the Cup, Eichel was an outstanding hockey player. Now that he has done both and also shown that he can play well at both ends of the ice, look for Eichel to be one of the league’s top players next season.

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Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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