The Buffalo Sabres have done what they needed to do. The team announced on Tuesday night that superstar Jack Eichel has been signed to an 8 year, $80 million contract extension with an average annual value of $10 million. Eichel will celebrate his 21st later this month and is now guaranteed to be a Sabre until he is 29.
The value of the contract makes sense because the two parties met in the middle. Eichel wanted $11 a year and the Sabres offered $9. Rather than be stubborn and be forced into an arbitration situation like a lot of Sabres players have had to in the past, Buffalo and Eichel found an easy solution and now the team’s cornerstone is cemented.
After the Edmonton Oilers ponied up $100 million to Connor McDavid earlier this offseason, the whole league knew that Eichel would command similar numbers. But a lesser contract than McJesus’ behemoth is a smart move by the Sabres because cap issues are less likely and the team can afford to pay its other stars as well now.
In other news, D Jake McCabe returned to the team today after an upper-body injury held him out for the last two weeks. Phil Housley told Sabres.com that McCabe hopes to be ready for Thursday night. The Wisconsin native agreed to surrender his no. 29 to the returning Jason Pominville and will switch to no.19.
The Sabres open their 2017-18 campaign on Thursday night vs. Montreal. Housley has not yet named a captain of the team and if he is going to at all, it will probably be tomorrow at some point. Eichel is the favorite while Ryan O’Reilly is also likely.
Don’t miss the action on Thursday night as the newest chapter of the NHL begins.