Not since Pierre Turgeon, the first overall pick in 1987, has an 18-year-old rookie come to Buffalo with such grand expectations.
“Easy guy to talk to, seems like a real heady coach, real smart”, Kane said.
The Sabres regard Eichel as a cornerstone in their rebuilding efforts. It is the first in a busy stretch featuring five games in seven days for the Wild, who play at Winnipeg on Tuesday. But after a nine-game look-see to start last season, he was returned to his junior team.
The Wild’s fielding a solid lineup with its two top lines and three of its four top defensemen. He has scored more than 19 goals three times and enjoyed his best season in 2011-12, when he had 30 goals and 27 assists. Then Eichel’s goal at 5:44 wrapped up the scoring. “So maybe I want to score 40 or 50”. “For me I didn’t want to tell him that I’d be living with him until I made the team”.
“I think the workload was light in the beginning and that enabled us to shorten the bench and get them out there as often as we could in offensive situations”, Cunneyworth said.
Murray’s first big move of the offseason was hiring Bylsma, who won the Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, to replace Ted Nolan.
Eichel, who was chosen second behind McDavid in the National Hockey League draft, will make the Sabres and is the face of the franchise’s turnaround. However, the positive signs were there, as evidenced by the trio combining for Moulson’s goal, which tied the game at 2-2.
Bench boss John Hynes said Matteau has a “real shot”, but he needs to see him demonstrate more consistency.
– Yeo on Eichel playing: “It’ll be fun for our fans to see a player of that caliber, but I’ll be completely watching our guys tomorrow”. You never know what could happen.
Robin Lehner is going to get the chance to prove himself this season as a starter, but Johnson showed he can be a reliable, NHL-quality back up when called upon.
The goalie has been impressed by the Sabres organization since arriving in Buffalo last week. “There’s definitely a lot of depth on this team now, and that’s exciting”.
Cunneyworth chose to ride the horses down the stretch, sometimes getting them back on the ice for every other shift.