Jack Eichel Not a Lock for NHL in 2015-2016


Jack Eichel is more than likely going to be the second overall pick in the NHL draft to the Buffalo Sabres. The only question now is if the Boston University star will go right to the NHL or stay in college for another season.

“If it ends up that my heart tells me that I want to move on and try to play in the NHL, then that’s what I’m going to do,” Eichel said Friday at the NHL Draft Combine to the Buffalo News “If my heart says I want to go back to (Boston University), then that’s what I’m going to do.

“There’s pros and cons of both situations. That’s going to make my decision pretty tough. I don’t want to be playing professionally if I want to be back in college with BU. I don’t want be at BU if I prefer to be playing professionally.”

The assumption has always been that Eichel would go straight to the NHL. He played in Europe at the IIHf tournament against pro players where he pretty much dominated. Fellow NHL prospect Dylan Larkin faced a similar choice of returning to Michigan or going to the Detroit Red Wings. After a strong tournament, he chose going pro and played in the AHL playoffs with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Even with the risk of Eichel returning to school, it probably won’t affect his draft decision. Buffalo will take him either way just to have his rights. Buffalo won’t be a playoff team next year anyways, so it doesn’t make a huge difference if he joins the team before 2016 or after.

The only concern would be injury for Eichel, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense for him to return to the Terriers. He’s proven almost everything he has to at that level. He won the Hobey Baker award for the best player in the country, and he’d be the odds on favorite to do it again. Sure, BU didn’t defeat Providence to win the national championship, but will that really hold him up from going pro?

Possibly another concern would be he doesn’t end up signing with Buffalo, but it wouldn’t make sense to prolong his pro career nearly four years to stay in school until they don’t sign him.

More than likely, we’ll see Eichel in a Buffalo uniform when October rolls around. We might just have to brace ourselves for the possibility that it’s not in stone.

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