While they may have "lost" to the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night in the NHL Draft Lottery, a game of chance that determined who would pick first in the approaching draft, one writer believes the Buffalo Sabres will do well by picking Jack Eichel of Boston University with the second overall pick.
Mike McMahon of College Hockey News saw Eichel play several times over the last year. The performance earned the Boston University freshman the Hobey Baker Award, the honor bestowed upon the best college hockey player in the United States. Eichel is the youngest to earn the award.
"I've been covering Hockey East for about ten years and have followed it closely longer than that. He's the best player in that league I've ever seen," McMahon told WBFO News.
"He might be the best college hockey player, period, I've ever seen."
McMahon admits to having a bias toward college hockey players as he weighs Eichel's value against that of Connor McDavid, the junior hockey star who is expected to be selected first in the draft by the Edmonton Oilers.
"I think there is something to be said for a guy like Eichel who has proven over the past year that he can play right away against bigger, stronger players because that's what college hockey brings," McMahon said.
"He played a team like Merrimack in Hockey East that recruits older players. They have 24-or-25-year-old seniors."
While Eichel has proven himself on the ice throughout the year, McMahon says the 18-year-old has handled himself well inside an increasingly intense spotlight.
"It's amazing to me. He's 100 percent professional."