We’ve heard several reports over the past few weeks regarding an extension for Sabres center Jack Eichel. The 20-year-old recently made it clear that he wanted to remain in Buffalo, and he reemphasized those sentiments earlier today. However, as opposed to last time, Eichel wasn’t so keen to give a timeframe on any contractual resolution.
“It’s kind of in my agent’s hands and Mr. Botterill’s,” Eichel said (via Tom Gulitti of NHL.com). “For me, it’s all about just going out and performing, playing well, being a good teammate and trying to help make a positive impact on the Sabres and get the organization back to the playoffs. I want to be in Buffalo. I want to be there for a long time. I want to be there when we’re winning. I want to bring that to the city.
“But in terms of the deal, it’s going to get done at some point whether it’s now or a couple months or next year. Who knows? I just know if my play takes care of itself, then good things will happen.”
The former second-overall pick has been productive during his two seasons in the league, compiling 48 goals and 65 assists in 142 games.
Let’s take a look at more notes from around the NHL…
- Defenseman Cody Franson signed a professional tryout contract with the Blackhawks earlier this evening, and Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times believes the move could give the squad “a much-needed boost on the back end of their back end.” The 30-year-old compiled three goals and 16 assists in 68 games for the Sabres last season, and the writer believes the veteran will be a welcome addition to a team that is “desperate for help on the blue line.” Ultimately, Franson is expected to compete with Jan Rutta, Ville Pokka and Erik Gustafsson for a spot on the team’s third line.
- Veteran defenseman Dan Girardi signed a two-year, $6MM deal with the Lightning earlier this offseason, and the 33-year-old told Joe Smith of TampaBay.com that general manager Steve Yzerman was a big reason why he chose to sign with the organization. “I came here because ’Stevie Y’ called me personally and said, ’We want you here,'” Girardi said. “I felt that meant a lot to me as a guy who pretty much played his heart out for 11 years in New York, got bought out. You don’t know what’s happening and you get a guy like Steve Yzerman call you personally. It’s like, ’Okay, that’s where I know I need to be.'” Girardi had played the past 11 seasons with the Rangers, and he finished the 2016 campaign with four goals and 11 assists.
- Alex Nylander is trying to build off his four-game cameo from last season, and the Sabres prospect appeared to be “bigger and more confident” as he prepared for the upcoming Prospect Challenge. As John Vogl of the Buffalo News writes, a solid performance during the rookie tourney could lead to the former first-rounder earning a spot on the team’s NHL roster. “You’ve got to have a good impression on them,” Nylander said. “You’ve got to be working hard and showing what you can do on the ice. It’s like a new start, so it feels really good coming into this year.”