Jack Eichel Has Proven He’s Ready for NHL


Jack Eichel is one of two names that are the new buzzwords around the hockey world. With the regular seasons in various leagues either winding down or already over, fans of the NHL are focused on two things: the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Buffalo Sabres fans, of course, are particularly looking towards the draft, where the team will likely pick up either Eichel or Connor McDavid with a coveted top-two pick.

Eichel, 18, is just a freshman at Boston University, but he’s already made a name for himself on the college hockey scene.

He’s accured 66 points (24-42) in just 36 games this season. He’s a plus-46 and just last week, Eichel received numerous year-end honors from the Hockey East Writers & Broadcasters Association.

He was named both rookie of the year and player of the year, and was one of three forwards named to HEWBA’s All-Hockey East First Team. Joining him, among others, are Boston Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk, also of Boston University, as well as Calgary Flames  goaltending prospect Jon Gillies, of Providence College.

Eichel filled the second slot in NHL Central Scouting’s 2015 midterm rankings, just behind fellow centerman McDavid, and ahead of Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin. He was one of three BU players ranked, with left winger A.J. Greer (#71) and defenseman Brien Diffley (#139).

International Scouting Services also ranks Jack Eichel second heading into the draft, just behind McDavid and just ahead of left winger Lawson Crouse.

Eichel has already more than proven his worth on the college hockey stage, but he’s also made a name for himself elsewhere, too.

For instance, he’s already taken the ice at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. Jack Eichel was one of the players participating in the 2014 All-American Prospects Game, along with another fellow big-name NHL draft prospect this year: Noah Hanifin.

Eichel had a goal and an assist and received Player of the Game Honors.

The North Chelmsford, Massachusetts native has represented the United States on numerous stages, too.

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An alumni of the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 teams, Eichel represented the United States in the Men’s Under-18 World Championships in both 2013 and 2014, winning a silver and gold medal. He registered 10 points (5-5) in seven games during the 2014 tournament, and two points (1-1) in the 2013 championship.

Eichel was named one of Team USA’s top three players for the 2014 tournament, as voted by the coaches. He also played for the U.S. National U-18 team that won the Five Nations Tournament in Russia in 2014; Eichel registered seven points (3-4) in four games and has previously played in the Four Nations Tournament, World Under-17 Challenge and Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Jack Eichel also played in the IIHF World Junior Championships in both 2014 and 2015, when the US won fifth place both years. Altogether in his young career, Eichel has put up nine points (2-7) in 10 World Juniors games and he’s still going to be eligible for the tournament in years to come.

So what have people said about Jack Eichel?

Eliteprospects.com says Eichel is “a consistent scoring threat on the ice” with a “next-level hockey-IQ” and “an elite-level skillset.”

"“All-in-all, Jack Eichel is that uncontainable, dynamic center that can make other players look out of place in his wake.”"

Hockey’s Future says that Eichel may try to do too much sometimes, but that there’s little doubt that he will be a success once he hits the NHL.

"“Eichel has the ability to control the game with a high hockey IQ, a good, powerful skating stride, and offensive skills that are second to none among American prospects for the 2015 draft. Eichel has good strength, allowing him to win battles for the puck and control it in space.”"

One place where Eichel is on the cusp of success: the Hobey Baker race.

Ten candidates for the award, which honors college hockey’s top player, were announced last week. Naturally, Jack Eichel is one of them, and he’s considered the favorite to win, despite being the only freshman player on the list. The remaining players are all juniors and seniors, including Predators pick Jimmy Vesey and RIT forward Matt Garbowsky.

Eichel is the first freshman candidate for the Hobey Baker in 12 years. He racked up 61 points in 34 games prior to his Hobey Baker nomination.

Of course, despite all the hype surrounding the upcoming NHL Draft, Eichel is just another 18-year-old kid. He Tweets (albeit not incredibly often), has videos of himself pounding back beers appear online, and oh — sometimes he scores some pretty amazing goals in championship games.

Next: Connor McDavid Also Ready for NHL

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