The recent signing of Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year, $68MM contract has put the spotlight on some other players around the league, perhaps most notably Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel is currently in contract negotiations with the Buffalo Sabres on what would likely be an eight-year extension, even though he’s not a restricted free agent until next summer. Darren Dreger of TSN joined WGR 550 in Buffalo today to talk about the potential contract, and he suggested something that few Buffalo fans wanted to hear.
Dreger believes the comparable for Eichel is still Connor McDavid, who signed an eight-year $100MM extension earlier this summer, and thinks the Buffalo center could get as much as $9.5MM on his new deal. That’s a huge number for a player who was limited by injury last season, and would put him among the top-10 players in the league. It seems like a ridiculous amount, but Eichel does have a higher points-per-game rate than Draisaitl and is already a full-time center. The face of the Sabres’ franchise should have a deal done within the next few weeks, as both sides want to get it done before training camp.
- Zach Hyman knows that he could be pushed down the lineup in Toronto after the Maple Leafs signed Patrick Marleau, but he’s okay with that. Speaking with Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun, Hyman made it clear that he’s just dedicated to winning and is happy to have even more depth on the wing. After a season in which he faced plenty of crisiticm for his perceived lack of “finish”—Hyman scored just 10 goals and 28 points despite playing with Auston Matthews for every game—he was signed to a four-year contract this summer. A clear favorite of Mike Babcock, Hyman sounded like a future coach when he told Hornby that “it’s good to have this problem.” The 25-year old will likely spend more time in a bottom-six role this year, where he could thrive chasing down weaker defenders in the offensive zone.
- The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have signed James De Haas to an AHL contract. The 23-year old defenseman was a Detroit Red Wings draft pick, but became a free agent on Wednesday after finishing his four years at Clarkson University. He’s an interesting prospect that found a lot of success in the NCAA but doesn’t have a standout tool. Still, his size, skating and defensive ability could lead him to fill a depth role on the Philadelphia roster eventually. After logging huge minutes at Clarkson, he could step right into a big role for the Phantoms, who rely on more offensive-minded options like T.J. Brennan and Will O’Neill at present.