Sabres work­ing on lock­ing up Eichel with eight-year deal

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — A per­son fa­mil­iar with ne­go­ti­a­tions tells The As­so­ci­ated Press the Buf­falo Sabres and Jack Eichel are dis­cussing a con­tract ex­ten­sion that could run the Na­tional Hockey League max­i­mum eight years.

The per­son spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity on Wed­nes­day be­cause the talks have been pri­vate since for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan.

Eichel, 20, has one sea­son re­main­ing on the en­try-level con­tract he signed af­ter be­ing se­lected with the sec­ond pick in the 2015 draft — one spot be­hind Con­nor McDavid. Eichel will only be el­i­gi­ble to be­come a re­stricted free agent whose rights can be re­tained by the Sabres next sum­mer, though teams of­ten pre­fer lock­ing up their young stars be­fore that hap­pens.

Eichel is com­ing off a sea­son in which he had a team-lead­ing 57 points and fin­ished sec­ond with 24 goals in 61 games, miss­ing the first two months with a sprained left an­kle.

A frac­tion of a point sep­a­rated him from col­lect­ing a $2-mil­lion bonus by just miss­ing out on fin­ish­ing among the NHL’s top 10 in pointsper-game pro­duc­tion. Eichel fin­ished 11th by av­er­ag­ing 0.934 points per game. He was edged out by Ed­mon­ton’s Leon Drai­saitl (10th, 77 points, 0.939 av­er­age).

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Jack Eichel: 57 points in 61 games

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