Over the past couple of years, it has become very evident that the Buffalo Sabres are Jack Eichel’s team.
There may have been some doubt in the first couple years of his contract as he had some growing up to do both on and off the ice. But he’s shown signs of maturing as a professional hockey player and now is the time to make him captain.
He already has a new number, but it’s the letter on the front that is far more important.
Last season, the Sabres didn’t have a captain at all, but instead had four alternates, one of them being Eichel. This was one of the first steps in showing him that the team and coaches knew he was, eventually, destined for a higher leadership role.
Jack Eichel back at it with this snipe pic.twitter.com/lhbPKaDDYx
— Hockey Videos (@TheHockeyVideos) October 12, 2015
Not only has Jack shown his worth on the ice, he has gained the respect of his teammates.
During the locker room cleanout, Jack said to his teammates:
“I’ve figured out a better way to communicate with you guys, for sure… We talk every day. We might as well make our relationship a good one. I think last year I was frustrated, bitter, a bit upset. Not at you guys at all. But at the way things went.”
Eichel has let his bitterness and frustration get the best of him at times, but he has pushed past it and stepped up, showing the coaching staff, the team and the fans that he is capable and willing to lead the Sabres — and steer them in a new direction.
Jack Eichel, nasty as usual. pic.twitter.com/0jc2xh69FH
— NHL (@NHL) December 28, 2016
“But it’s not a time to sit here and pout and give you guys one-word answers. I think…we have to communicate a message to our fans, our organization, our city, that as bad as things were, we’re going to change it, we’re going to change things around here.”
As the 2018-19 season approaches, so does the time to select the team’s newest leader. With the departure of Ryan O’Reilly, it’s only fair the the C is given to Eichel — not only a strong player, but a strong leader.