It’s tough not to feel for Jack Eichel, even if he’s in line to be extremely rich considering that eight-year, $80 million contract that will kick in next season.
If you look at his experiences sheerly as a competitor, he’s had some lousy luck with the Buffalo Sabres.
The latest bit of lousy news is that he was diagnosed with another high-ankle sprain and is out for at least four to six weeks. With the Sabres having little to play for in 2017-18 (really, they’re probably better off sinking), it’s tough to imagine Eichel forcing his way back within the next two months.
As you can see from this post last night, it didn’t look good when Eichel fell:
Yikes. Again, this is becoming far too common an experience for Eichel. Let’s review some of the frustrated, star-crossed scorer’s bumpy moments in recent times:
- As a reminder, this isn’t Eichel’s first high-ankle sprain. His 2016-17 season began with a limp thanks to that injury. Consider that a mild “What if?” for a Sabres franchise still trying to find its footing.
- Eichel fell a decimal point short of finishing in the top 10 in points-per-game during that season, reportedly costing him $2 million.
- Eichel said the Sabres believed they could be a playoff team in 2017-18. Instead, they’ve been basically the same sad story during long stretches, even as Eichel continues to impress.
- Eichel’s 21st birthday present: a loss. This GIF told that story, and the story of his first three seasons with Buffalo, really:
There have been many moments like these, where it seems like Eichel’s anger has been boiling over as he can’t will the Sabres to playoff contention. Simply put, he needs more help, and might see a helpful player like Evander Kane traded away.
Maybe the cynical silver lining is that he won’t have to absorb a couple rough months of losing? Beyond pondering future paychecks, that’s about as far as bright side goes until Buffalo can land some better supporting cast members.