Jack Eichel, Sabres hopeful, shows off elite speed vs. Leafs

Buffalo Sabres hopeful Jack Eichel showed the Maple Leafs the elite speed and acceleration that helped make him the No. 2 overall draft pick in June, scoring a first-period short-handed goal in his NHL home pre-season debut.

Centre blows by Toronto youngster Brown for SHG

Sabres blank Maple Leafs in pre-season action

8 years ago
Duration 0:29
Buffalo beats Toronto 4-0.

Shortly after the Buffalo Sabres drafted Jack Eichel second overall on June 26 in Sunrise, Fla., head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters how the young centre "makes everyone on the bench and in the stands notice him right away."

Well, it was hard to miss No. 41 during his NHL home pre-season debut on Tuesday night, a 4-0 win by Eichel  and company over the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

With Marcus Foligno serving a boarding minor in the first period, Eichel received a Nicolas Deslauriers pass just above the faceoff circle in Buffalo's end and displayed his elite speed and explosive acceleration by outskating Maple Leafs hopeful Connor Brown from just inside the blue-line to the Toronto net, beating goalie Jonathan Bernier for his second short-handed goal of the pre-season and fifth point in three contests.

And then he celebrated with many of the 17,357 in attendance at First Niagara Center.

"I could hear them start to get going as I was breaking away," Eichel told reporters of the crowd. "I was just praying I didn't miss."

"He's a pretty good player. You can see him out there," said Bernier of Eichel. "He creates a lot out there."

The 18-year-old Eichel comes to the Sabres after leading the NCAA with 45 assists, 71 points, a plus-51 rating and 23 power-play points. He also scored 26 goals.

Eichel has stood out this pre-season not only with his point production, but with a plus-5 rating and play away from the puck.

The 2015 Hobey Baker Award winner as the top player in American college hockey could face the Leafs as many as four times this season, beginning Oct. 21 at Buffalo.


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