Jack, Risto and Sam make Top 40 List

triple threat

Eichel. Ristolainen. Reinhart. No doubt the core of the Sabres’ future.

And according to researchers and producers from NHL Network, they’re each among the top 40 breakout players of the 2015-16 season.

Eichel, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, played in 81 games and had 24 goals (second among rookies) and 56 points (second among rookies) including eight power-play goals and five game-winning goals for the Sabres. He finished second on the team in scoring. He was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, had four two-goal games and ended the season on a five-game point streak. Eichel, 19, had a career-best four points in a 6-3 win against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 26. His play helped Buffalo improve by 12 wins and 27 points from the 2014-15 season.

Ristolainen, in his third NHL season, played in all 82 games and had nine goals, 32 assists and 41 points, all increases from 2014-15. He led Sabres defensemen in scoring and had four power-play goals. The 21-year-old led the Sabres in average total ice time (25:16), almost three minutes more than the next-closest skater (defenseman Zach Bogosian, 22:20) and had the first game-winning goal of his career. He had two multigoal games, including his first hat trick, with all three goals coming in the third period of a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Dec. 10.

Reinhart, selected by the Sabres with the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, was productive: in 79 games, the 20-year-old had 23 goals, 19 assists and 42 points. He had eight power-play goals (tied for the team lead) and three game-winners. He finished tied for third in the League in goals among rookies and eighth in points. He had three multigoal games, including his first NHL hat trick in a 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 10.

Here is a look at the entire list:

  1. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Washington Capitals
  2. Artemi Panarin, F, Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Martin Jones, G, San Jose Sharks
  4. Mark Scheifele, C, Winnipeg Jets
  5. Matt Murray, G, Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers
  7. John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks
  8. Kyle Palmieri, RW, New Jersey Devils
  9. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Philadelphia Flyers
  10. Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers
  11. Vincent Trocheck, C, Florida Panthers
  12. Thomas Greiss, G, New York Islanders
  13. Boone Jenner, C, Columbus Blue Jackets
  14. Petr Mrazek, G, Detroit Red Wings
  15. Jack Eichel, C, Buffalo Sabres
  16. Brayden Schenn, C, Philadelphia Flyers
  17. Colton Parayko, D, St. Louis Blues
  18. Alex Galchenyuk, C, Montreal Canadiens
  19. Dylan Larkin, C, Detroit Red Wings
  20. Tomas Hertl, C, San Jose Sharks
  21. Robby Fabbri, C, St. Louis Blues
  22. Max Domi, LW, Arizona Coyotes
  23. Zack Smith, C, Ottawa Senators
  24. Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers
  25. Leo Komarov, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
  26. John Klingberg, D, Dallas Stars
  27. J.T. Miller, C, New York Rangers
  28. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, Ottawa Senators
  29. Rickard Rakell, C, Anaheim Ducks
  30. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buffalo Sabres
  31. Ryan Spooner, C, Boston Bruins
  32. Victor Rask, C, Carolina Hurricanes
  33. Michael Stone, D, Arizona Coyotes
  34. Sam Reinhart, C, Buffalo Sabres
  35. Erik Haula, C, Minnesota Wild
  36. Joonas Donskoi, F, San Jose Sharks
  37. Anthony Duclair, F, Arizona Coyotes
  38. Brad Marchand, F, Boston Bruins
  39. Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary Flames
  40. Tyler Toffoli, C, Los Angeles Kings


Jeff Seide
Jeff Seide
I've been a Sabres fan since my first game in the Aud in '76 against the Habs. I sat in the lower golds for that game and though I've been to close to 400 games, I've never sat as close as I did that night.
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