Now that the Buffalo Sabres know that unanimous first pick of the NHL amateur draft is Connor McDavid and he will likely go to the Edmonton Oilers, the next task for them is to work on securing the unanimous 2nd overall selection.
Buffalo fans can now redirect their attention to Jack Eichel who is the odds on favorite to go second. The scouting report on Eichel from EliteSports.com said:
When Jack Eichel is on the ice, the pace of the play shifts; if players can’t keep up, they are left behind. A consistent scoring threat on the ice, Eichel possesses next-level hockey-IQ, an elite-level skillset, and the natural size and work ethic to let him play his role as a scoring power center. All-in-all, Jack Eichel is that uncontainable, dynamic center that can make other players look out of place in his wake.
His game of speed and power garnered him accolades as the best freshman in college hockey as well as the best player. He netted 26 goals, 45 assists and 71 points in just 40 games as Boston University. The team made it to the championship game of the NCAA Frozen Four before falling to Providence.
Eichel also became the first freshman since 1993 to win the Hobey Baker Award, as the best player in college hockey.
With the No. 2 overall pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft lottery, the Buffalo Sabres are expected to select Eichel, the American prodigy. to make it an easier decision they signed his Boston University linemate, senior free agent Evan Rodrigues, to a two-year entry-level contract.
“Evan is a very talented young player who has displayed exceptional growth during his four years at Boston University,” Sabres General Manager Tim Murray said in a statement issued by the team. “We look forward to adding another talented piece to our group.”
The forward from Etobicoke, Ontario was a times overlooked as the attention stayed on Eichel, but he was a top performer for Boston U.
Playing with Eichel has boosted his career and helped his on-ice production. Rodrigues ranked second in the nation in scoring with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists).
“It’s been incredible,” Rodrigues said about playing with Eichel to the Toronto Globe and Mail earlier this month. “I’m enjoying every second of playing with him. As good as he is, off the ice, he’s humble, and a great teammate and he’s become a leader in our locker room.”
The move to acquire Rodriques was a strategic one for the Sabres, not only is he a talented prospect, but it also will help to attract Eichel by providing someone he is comfortable with who is also making the transition from College to the professional ranks.
Other teams wanting to attract top talent have executed the same strategy. When the New York Islanders drafted Denis Potvin first overall they also obtained his brother Jean to make the transition more comfortable for the rookie phenom.
Years before that the Montreal Canadiens acquired Pete Mahovlich to help make his brother, star forward, Frank’s transition easier.
“Rodrigues was an assistant captain for Boston University and his four points (three goals, one assist) in the NCAA tournament earned him Most Outstanding Player of the Northeast Regional honors.
The Terriers constructed a unbelievable turnaround although they did not win the national championship, As a junior, Rodrigues managed just 14 points and BU was a lowly 10-21 overall. This past season, he exploded offensively and was at the core of the improvement.