By Brandon J. Koch
At number one on the list in all of Sabres nation’s mind, from the fans to the organization, is Jack Eichel’s contact.
The 20-year-old is entering the final year of his entry level deal. The Sabres and Eichel’s agent started negotiations this summer in hopes of striking a long term deal to stay with the franchise that drafted him.
In two seasons with the blue and gold, Jack produced 48 goals and 113 points in 142 games. He missed 21 games last year due to a serious leg injury right before the season started. When playing a full 82 game season, he is a top ten player and a top 5 scorer in the league. Eichel needs to improve in his defense to be a great two-way player and he knows that, which is why he will be an all around improved player this season.
I’d expect and hope a new contract before the season starts. Here’s what I’m looking for in a new contract.
8 year deal: Yes, a lengthy and big investment, but it will be the best one the franchise has ever made. It’s also very smart for the Sabres. Why give him a four-year deal when he will have the option to hit the open market? A 4 year deal will likely mean a increase in cap hit as the cap will be higher in 4 years, meaning player salaries will go up. Also, the organization won’t have to worry for the foreseeable future.
Cap hit: The Eichel contract will likely kick in at the start of 18-19 season. At that time, Connor MacDavid will have a cap hit of $12.5 million, the highest in the league. So where should Eichel be? I think he will be at the bottom of the top ten in salary and cap hit. A contract could be around P.K. Subban’s deal. So, I can see, 8 years, $10 million per, with a cap hit of $8-9 million.
Whatever the deal is, i’ll be glad to get this superstar locked up in Buffalo.