Jack Eichels’ Season Debut Could Be Tuesday Against Ottawa Senators

05 APR 2016: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) during the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Buffalo Sabres played at the Prudential Center in Newark,NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jack Eichels’ season debut could possibly come as soon as Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. Eichel has yet to play this season due to a sprained ankle, but the timetable has shifted to see him making his debut slightly earlier than originally expected.

Jack Eichels’ Season Debut Could Be Tuesday Against Ottawa Senators

The 20-year old center is coming off the back of an impressive rookie season, in which he had 24 goals and 56 points for a struggling Buffalo Sabres squad. It didn’t come as much of a surprise, as many were aware of the skill that Eichel possessed. One thing is for sure though, and that is that the Sabres have sorely missed his offensive abilities.

In the 21 games this season that Buffalo has played this season without Eichel they have only scored 38 goals, which is worst in the NHL. At a pace of only 1.81 GF/GP, trailing the next closest team the Vancouver Canucks by 0.33 for worst in the league, it’s safe to say that Eichel will be a sight for sore eyes in Buffalo. Last year, with Eichel in the lineup, the Sabres scored 215 goals, good for a rate of 2.43 GF/GP.

It must be noted that Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma did state to the press that it’s no guarantee that Eichel will skate against the Senators. Bylsma seems to be cautiously optimistic of the young forwards return, and stated that Eichel looked good in consecutive days of rigorous practice. Bylsma stated, “It was a big test for him yesterday and seeing how he came in today was a big step for whether we’re going to see him tomorrow.”

Eichel was a contender for the Calder Trophy last season, awarded to the best rookie in the league. It remains to be seen whether or not he will pick up from where he left off, but surely everyone around the league will be happy to see a young star being able to get back on the ice. Eichel was selected second overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, behind only Edmonton OilersConnor McDavid.

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MSc Physical Education - Sports Administration Managing Editor, Last Word on Hockey Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Giants credentialed writer Follows the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters, Manchester United, Vancouver Whitecaps, Detroit Tigers, Chargers (NFL), and the University of Michigan