The deal is done. Jack Eichel has signed an eight-year, deal with the Buffalo Sabres. The team has confirmed that the deal is worth $80 million. It carries an AAV or cap hit of $10 million per season.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 3, 2017
Many anticipated the contract. According to an August 2nd report from The Associated Press, Eichel was said to be negotiating this eight year contract with the club. The report indicated that the deal has been in the works for quite some time.
From the report: “The person spoke on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the talks have been private since formal negotiations began a little over a month ago.”
Jack Eichel Signs Eight Year Contract with Buffalo Sabres
Eichel, 20, led all Buffalo Sabres last season in scoring with 24 goals, 33 assists, 57 points in 61 games. He missed the first two months to injury.
While Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the earlier AP report; he did tell TSN at the that there was a mutual interest in keeping Eichel in Buffalo for a long time. He’s made good on that promise now.
Pegula: “I can tell you this, We want Jack and Jack wants to be in Buffalo.” https://t.co/DypeN8DEZH
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) August 2, 2017
Jack Eichel was selected second overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft behind current reigning Hart trophy winner Connor McDavid. McDavid also received an eight-year deal from the Edmonton Oilers this summer. McDavid will become the top paid NHL player with an annual salary of $12.5 million per season. Eichel did not quite match McDavid’s deal and also goes underneath what NHL veterans Carey Price, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane receive at $10.5 million per season.
Eichel was rumoured to be in a feud with former Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma, with reports alleging that number 15 would not sign with the Sabres if Bylsma was still behind the bench. While Eichel denied the report, Bylsma and general manager Tim Murray were fired in the 2016-2017 off season. Dan Bylsma has been replaced behind the bench by former Nashville Predators assistant coach and former Sabres defenceman Phil Housley. This deal is the signature move for new general manager Jason Botterill this off-season.