The Buffalo Sabres will likely soon draft Boston University’s Jack Eichel. However, their rebuilding process has begun with Eichel’s linemate Evan Rodrigues. Rodrigues played on the same line with Eichel at Boston University as they led the Terriers to a Frozen Four finals appearance.
Several media outlets reported the signing but it was Rodrigues’ agent Brian Bartlett who confirmed the signing.
Buffalo finished second in the NHL draft lottery and, given the Edmonton Oilers select Connor McDavid, the Sabres will more than likely draft Eichel.
Rodrigues was an NHL free agent after his Terriers career came to an end. Rodrigues scored 60 points this season, trailing just Eichel and Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey in points per game.
The entire top line with the Terriers looks like it will be NHL bound shortly, as Eichel and he should be with Buffalo and their linemate Danny O’Reagan is a prospect of the San Jose Sharks.
“Evan is a very talented young player who has displayed exceptional growth during his four years at BU,” Sabres General Manager Tim Murray said in a press release. “We look forward to adding another talented piece to our group.”
Rodrigues wasn’t totally overlooked while playing with Eichel. He was named the most outstanding player of the Northeast Regionals in the NCAA hockey playoffs.
From the Sabres official press release
"In his four seasons at Boston University, Rodrigues amassed 121 points (42+79) in 146 games played and registered a 0.83 points-per-game average. He was also named a Hockey East Second Team All-Star in his sophomore and senior seasons."
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal is for two years. Interestingly, McKenzie also reported that the Sabres had been talking to Boston University goalie Matt O’Connor but they have ended those conversations, but obviously the Sabres have an interest in a lot of the Terriers roster.
It’s likely that the former Terrier will start the season with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, but he could have a shot at cracking the roster later on if he produces. Some have mentioned that the deal with Rodrigues could be to entice Eichel, but that would be undervaluing the talent of Rodrigues. He tripled his production from his career last season and has shown a steady improvement. He struggled in his junior season due to injuries, but last season broke out as one of the best players in the nation.
The first to report on the deal was WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin.