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What will Jack Eichel’s next contract look like?

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This post is part of Sabres Day on PHT…

The Buffalo Sabres have one of the best young forwards in the NHL in Jack Eichel, and now they need to figure out how to get him under contract for the foreseeable future.

The Sabres have already said that they’d like to get something done this summer, but they can still take care of business during the season, as Eichel still has one year remaining on his entry-level contract.

In his first year, he put up 24 goals and 56 points in 81 games. Those are pretty impressive numbers considering he was just 19 at the time and he wasn’t exactly surrounded by a star-studded roster.

Last season, Eichel scored the same amount of goals and added one more assist than the previous year, but he did it in just 61 games (he suffered an ankle injury during a team practice right before the start of the season).

The 20-year-old had multi-point efforts in his first two games of the season, but he really took off in February. Between Feb. 2 and Mar. 27, he scored 11 goals and 22 assists in 26 games.

If Eichel progresses in his third year like he progressed in his second, it’s hard to imagine him not scoring at least 75 points (if he can stay healthy) in 2017-18.

It’s clear that the Sabres are all-in when it comes to their franchise center. As soon as there were rumblings about Eichel and head coach Dan Bylsma not getting along, ownership decided to let go of the coach and general manager Tim Murray.

Alright, so we know Eichel is going to be getting a raise from his entry-level contract, but how much money will it take to lock him up lock term?

He isn’t in the same category as Connor McDavid (nobody is) so he won’t hit the same $13.25 million cap number. Still, he’s in for a significant raise, and “buying” those free-agent years definitely won’t come cheap, but at least he wants to be there for the long haul.

“I want to be here for a long time,” the Sabres forward told the Buffalo News back in April. “That’s the way I look at it. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I don’t want anybody to think that I want to be somewhere else. I want to be here, and I want to help this team win in any way that I can do that. I just want all the people there to know that.”

The highest paid player on the roster is Ryan O'Reilly, who signed a seven-year deal worth $52.5 million ($7.5 million AAV) in July of 2015. You have to figure that Eichel will become the highest paid player on his team after he signs this extension.

So, if Buffalo hopes to get him under team control for eight more years, it will likely cost them at least $64 million to do so.

Predators center Ryan Johansen just signed an eight-year, $64 million contract extension late last month. Johansen has been in the league longer, and has scored 26 and 33 goals in his two best years. He’s also more than four years older than Eichel. As good as Johansen is, it’s hard to argue that Eichel doesn’t have a higher ceiling at this point.

All-in-all, Buffalo might need to fork out close to $9 million annually if they want to get this contract finalized.

The Buzzer: MacKinnon the hero; Lundqvist gives up zero

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Players of the night:

Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes:

Teravainen picked up two goals and an assist in Carolina’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders, while Aho had a goal and two helpers. It was a positive weekend for the ‘Canes as they were able to pick up victories over Buffalo and New York on Saturday and Sunday.

William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights:

The Golden Knights, who are currently second in the Pacific Division, took down the division-leading Kings, 4-2, thanks to a pair of goals from Karlsson in the first period.

Just a hunch, but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is probably going to want this one back:

Highlights of the night: 

The Hurricanes may have come up with the victory, but it was Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy that scored the most impressive goal of the game, as he split two players before beating Cam Ward.

Nathan MacKinnon was up to his old tricks, as he helped the Avs come back to beat the Red Wings. MacKinnon registered the primary assist on Carl Soderberg‘s game-tying goal with under a minute remaining in regulation. He also added this incredible goal in overtime:

Who knew that Ducks defenseman Josh Manson had these kind of moves?

Factoids of the Night:

King Henrik is moving up the all-time list:

Hey, shutouts are never easy, so the fact that King Henrik has 63 of them is pretty impressive. He had to make a key save on Mike Hoffman in the first period:

Ducks goalie John Gibson faced a lot of rubber. He turned away 50 of 52 shots in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

Suspensions of the Night: 

Sunday was a big night for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, as they handed out two suspensions.

The first one was given to Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas for his slash to the back of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault’s head. Gudas will sit for 10 games. He’ll also forfeit over $408,000 in salary. 

Predators forward Austin Watson was also disciplined for boarding Avalanche rookie Dominic Toninato. Watson, who isn’t a repeat offender, was suspended for two games. 

Hall of Fame Tribute of the Night: 

The Ducks players wore Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne’s jerseys during the pre-game warmup. As you probably remember, both players entered the Hockey Hall of Fame last week.

I prefer the white “Kariya” jersey, but that’s just me.

Scores:

Hurricanes 4, Islanders 2

Avalanche 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

Rangers 3, Senators 0

Golden Knights 4, Kings 2

Ducks 3, Panthers 2

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Austin Watson suspended two games for boarding Dominic Toninato

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety is working overtime on Sunday night, as they’ve handed out a pair of suspensions.

Moments after announcing Radko Gudas’ 10-game suspension, the league handed a two-game ban to Predators forward Austin Watson for boarding Avs rookie Dominic Toninato.

Unlike Gudas, Watson has no history of being fined or suspended during his NHL career.

Here’s the league’s full explanation of their decision to suspend Watson:

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Radko Gudas suspended 10 games for slashing Mathieu Perreault over the head

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We all knew that Radko Gudas would receive a suspension for his slash to the back of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault‘s head, but we didn’t know how long he’d be forced to sit out.

On Sunday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Gudas has been suspended for 10 games for the incident.

The league confirmed that the fact that the Flyers defenseman is a repeat offender played against him in this case.

Check out the Department of Player Safety’s full explanation of the suspension:

The suspension will also cost him just over $408,000 in salary, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Ouch!

“He got the meaty part of the neck,” Perreault said after the game, per TSN.ca  “It could have been worse, I guess.

“He apologized in the penalty box, but when you look at the replay, it looks like he did it on purpose. It wasn’t an accident. He’s been known for doing stuff like that, so I certainly don’t appreciate it. I’m sure the league will take care of it.”

Gudas served the first game of the suspension on Saturday. He’ll be eligible to return to the Flyers lineup on on Dec. 12 against Toronto.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Flyers will host Penguins in outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field in 2019

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The battle of Pennsylvania will take a new twist, as the NHL announced that the Philadelphia Flyers will be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field (home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles) on Feb. 23, 2019.

This will be the second time that these two teams play each other in an outdoor game. Last season, the Penguins beat the Flyers, 4-2, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

“It’s always a special opportunity to take the game back to its roots and have NHL players skate outdoors,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said in a release. “We competed against the Flyers outdoors at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh 2017 and look forward to completing the in-state ‘home-and-home’ series at Lincoln Financial Field in 2019. It should be a great atmosphere.”

This will be the fifth time that the Penguins are involved in an outdoor door since 2008. They won a shootout decision against Buffalo (2008), they lost a home game to Washington (2011), they lost in Chicago (2014) and they beat the Flyers earlier this year.

It’s the second time the Flyers host an outdoor game (the first one was at Citizens Bank Park baseball stadium). The game at Lincoln Financial Field will be the fourth outdoor game for the Flyers. They lost in Boston in overtime (2010), they dropped home decision to the Rangers (2012), and they had the loss to Pittsburgh last year.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.