SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Buffalo Sabres didn't have the first-overall selection in the 2015 draft and missed out on the possibility of having phenom Connor McDavid in their lineup.
It doesn't matter because Jack Eichel is going to be an incredible NHL player in his own right.
The Sabres selected Eichel with the second-overall pick Friday, and the 18-year-old centerman could have an immediate impact in the NHL.
Eichel admitted Thursday during his media session that he hasn’t completely decided whether or not he'll turn pro or return to Boston University for his sophomore season. For him to don a Sabres sweater as a rookie for the 2015-16 season, Buffalo needs to make Eichel the focus of the organization’s rebuild.
Under new Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, Eichel will be given every opportunity to succeed. Eichel should be on the first power-play unit and get plenty of ice time, too. It's possible he could play between Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane or with Matt Moulson on one of his wings.
Believe it or not, some hockey scouts think Eichel could have a more immediate impact at the NHL level than McDavid. While the No. 1 overall pick was playing against younger players in OHL, Eichel was squaring off against men in their 20s during his freshman year at Boston University.
Given his natural abilities, Eichel should have an impact on every aspect of the game for the Sabres. He’s considered a game-changer as he develops into a top-notch NHL player.