This past offseason, the majority of headlines related to the NHL surrounded Jack Eichel and to which team the Buffalo Sabres would trade him.
It became very clear this summer that the relationship between Eichel and the Sabres was irreparable after he and the team had different opinions on what type of surgery he should get to repair a herniated disc in his neck. Because of that, he was unable to get the operation he wanted until he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in early November. He has since been able to make his Golden Knights debut and is beginning to find his stride with three goals and seven points through 10 games.
While every game he has played in has been important given how tight the Pacific Division is, Thursday night’s contest will without a doubt be the biggest he has played in this season. That is because, for the first time since being dealt, he will face his former team in their home arena. He spoke with reporters after practice Wednesday to discuss how he is feeling ahead of the contest.
“It’s definitely strange, but I’m not the first guy to get traded and go to another team and go back to the team they were at,” Eichel said. “It’s a little awkward walking in here and going to the visitors room, but other guys have done it so it’s just business as always.”
The 25-year-old also said that despite the messy split, he holds no bitterness to the Sabres organization and is thankful for his time spent with them.
“No bitterness, none whatsoever,” Eichel said. “I had a phenomenal time here in Buffalo, lived out a childhood dream playing in my first NHL game. The organization, city was nothing but great to me and my family. There’s no bitterness in me whatsoever.”
After being selected second overall in 2017 by the Sabres, Jack Eichel went on to play 375 games for the organization. During that time, he collected 139 goals and 355 points. Despite mentioning the good times he had with them, however, he has to be thrilled to be on a Golden Knights team that appears to be destined for the playoffs later this year, which is something that he has yet to experience at the NHL level.
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