For the first time in 11 years, the Buffalo Sabres will be represented by the same All-Star for two years in a row. Captain Jack Eichel was named to his second straight All-Star competition by the NHL on Wednesday night. He will join the Atlantic Division in San Jose later this month.
The last player to represent Buffalo at the All-Star gala in consecutive seasons was Brian Campbell in 2007 and 2008. Though the NHL All-Star Game is a joke, this is still a testament to how inconsistent the Sabres and their players have been over the past decade.
Since Campbell, Buffalo was represented by Thomas Vanek in 2009, Tyler Ennis is 2011, Jason Pominville in 2012, Zemgus Girgensons in 2015, Ryan O’Reilly in 2016 and Kyle Okposo in 2017 before Eichel got his first nod last season. For Eichel, it’s an honor well-deserved. The 22-year-old is in the midst of his best season yet and could finish amongst the NHL leaders in scoring if his recent injury doesn’t derail him.
A notable snub is Jeff Skinner, who was not named despite his 26 goals, which are currently tied for second in the League with John Tavares, who was named. As good as Skinner has been this season, I’m still not surprised. There are plenty of marquee big names in the Atlantic that the NHL will name to the game every year just because it’s what the NHL does and 26 goals still isn’t enough to propel Skinner above them. The NHL isn’t going to start caring about Buffalo until they starting winning big again.
However, Skinner can still go to San Jose via the Last Men In vote, which begins Thursday at noon on NHL.com. Skinner is more than deserving of the nomination as well. Make it happen for him, Sabres fans.