It's been a long time since I have posted here but I figured today was a good day for a return.
Amazing to think back to the day of the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery which meant the Sabres were 80% guaranteed Jack Eichel (sure I was keeping fingers crossed for McDavid but as a Sabres fan I'm used to disappointment), it was still seen as a magical Day. Jack Eichel was a franchise center.
Then the NHL Draft Day 2015. Sabres trade for Robin Lehner. BOOM. Then they trade for Ryan OReilly. BOOM! Draft Eichel. TRIPLE BOOM. ALL the same day. WOW is all I can think. The Sabres are going to be 'one of those teams' that will be a SC contender.
One of the greatest days as a NHL fan in my life since becoming a fan way back in 1983.
Then it all fell apart. Piece by piece. Mindless deals of mid round pick after mid round pick for role players like Michael Frolik, terrible subsequent drafting (Alex Nylander 8OV) and others. Lehner had depression and wasn't right. OReilly reportedly 'lost his love for the game' and all of the analytics nerds and scouts were saying OReilly 'was too slow for today's NHL'. Then Ryan was jettisoned out of town. The return was horrific, only Tage Thompson remains to give a flicker of hope. Only a flicker.
Fast forward to bad move after bad move. Ralph Kreuger had me fooled. I can say this with conviction, he may be the worst coach I have seen in any sport, any day, any week.
Don't get this twisted. Jack Eichel WANTED to be here and he wanted to win in Buffalo. BADLY. The organization really let him down in more ways then anyone can imagine. Over the last decade, the Sabres have been the worst organization in the NHL, and its not particularity close.
Having said this I do think the Sabres have made a good hire at GM, have brought in some of the best analytics wizards anywhere and made an great hire in Jason Karmanos. But the damage to Eichel has been done. He wants no part of a rebuild. They would not let him get his surgery. Jack has every right to be pissed.
As far as the return goes: I like Peyton Krebs. I really like Alex Tuch. I believe the Sabres can and will turn this around. But this deal will look bad for awhile and that rebuild will take some time.
But make no mistake: If Jack is right and healthy, Vegas won this deal. I wish Jack the best.