Decisions, Decisions: Eichel, Matthews Undecided on Future


Auston Matthews #19 of USA White moves the puck around Saku Kinnunen #18 of Team Finland during the 2014 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 4, 2014 in Lake Placid, New York.

(Aug. 3, 2014 – Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

One could be deciding where they will play for the considerable future and the other is picking a team to play on for a couple of months; however, the decisions of Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews’ next team are being waited on by most hockey fans.

It is known when Jack Eichel will be deciding, which is after he is selected in the NHL Draft. Eichel has been quoted many times saying he has not made up his mind and will not be until after the NHL Draft. He is going to be selected by the Buffalo Sabres, barring any surprises, and if you ask a Sabres fan where they think Eichel will be next year they are confident Eichel will be in a Buffalo Sabres uniform next season.

In an interview with WGR 550, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray confirmed that Jack Eichel told him during his combine interview that he will be better than census 1st overall Connor McDavid. He also added that that particular quote sounds like a player that would back that up by playing in the NHL next season.

Murray starts discussing Eichel, and his interview around the 4-minute mark.

If Eichel does choose to avenge Boston University’s defeat in the National Championship next season, he will do so as the assistant captain, as he was named so for the 2015-2016 season.

Eichel will be leading the team that he has been wanting to win a Frozen Four title for since his childhood. A championship is really the only thing Eichel hasn’t won with BU.

Apr 9, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston University Terriers forward Jack Eichel (9) celebrates after scoring an empty net goal against the University of North Dakota during the third period in a semifinal game in the men

He is a Hobey Baker award winner, Beanpot champion and MVP of that very tournament. The only spot left for Eichel to fill in his college trophy case is a National Championship; however, if his true passion is to prove he is better than Connor McDavid, he will need to be in the NHL next season.

McDavid is a sure lock to be in the NHL and will start as the favorite to win the Calder as the top rookie in the league. So if Eichel wants to at least try to prove himself, a race between him and McDavid for the Calder would not be a bad start.

Though Eichel will be deciding a team after he is selected in the draft, 2016 draft eligible Auston Matthews will be deciding a team to play for before he is selected in the NHL Draft.

There have been many reports over the last few weeks looking into where Matthews is headed for the 2015-2016 season. It has been confirmed his decision lies between the WHL with the Everett Silvertips or heading to Europe where Sweden, Switzerland and Finland are reportedly interested.

Damien Cox of Sportsnet reported the news of Matthews departure from North America, but fellow Sportsnet member John Shannon reported Monday Matthews has not made up his mind yet.

What this does confirm is that Auston Matthews will be deciding between Switzerland and the WHL.

If you are unfamiliar with Matthews, you better get acquainted. Matthews is just as highly touted as McDavid and Eichel have been this year, according to Dan Marr of Central Scouting.

“If he was in this year’s draft he’d be right up there and talked about in the same breath with [McDavid and Eichel]… The thing about Auston is, game in and game out for two years now, it’s been the same thing. He only knows one speed and that’s full speed, and he does it at practice and game situations.”

The reason for Matthews to play in Europe is money. Damien Cox mentioned in a piece about Matthews that, if he chose to play in Europe, he could be seeing close to “400-500,000 Euros”. Obviously if Matthews played in the WHL he would not be paid to that extent.

Matthews would also be put up against a greater level of competition if he chose to play in Europe. Since there are no age restrictions, Matthews would be playing against adults instead of teenagers like he would play in the WHL.

So, what is keeping Matthews from playing overseas?

If Matthews plays in Europe it will bring more attention to other notable 2016 NHL Draft prospect Jesse Puljujärvi. Puljujärvi has the potential to be selected 1st overall, but the chances are slim. Although, if  Puljujärvi outplays Matthews while they are both playing in Europe, there will certainly be some buzz created from it.

Both exhibit the strong, but skillful style to have success in European leagues and a battle between the two should be fun to watch during the 2016 NHL Draft season.

Although Eichel’s decision may be predictable and Matthews may be a bit uncommon, both are highly anticipated and fans will be awaiting their choices.