The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is 24 days away and the Wild are looking to find that next NHL star to raise their franchise to the next level. Hockey Wilderness is counting down the days with a daily mock draft. We are at pick number 2 today.
The Buffalo Sabres tried, really tried, to win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. Despite trading all of their good players for an injured Evander Kane (who is, granted, no slouch), the other team from New York couldn't find the wherewithal to go the distance. Because of that failure, the Sabres are stuck with practically the dregs of the draft, Jack Eichel of Boston University.
Buffalo Prospect Pool
According to Hockeys Future, the Sabres have "Depth at Center," "Depth in goaltending," and "Many prospects ready for NHL." That's good news for a team and fanbase that has been, uh, less than great in the past "X" amount of years, with "X" approaching infinity. Having drafted Sam Reinhart last year, along with Tyler Ennis, the Sabres are pretty set at center after drafting Eichel this year. That means that they will be looking to add some wings and some defenseman... and a goalie that's reliable. Eichel will solidify the Sabres spine, but there's a lot of work to be done on the wings and on the blue line.
About Jack Eichel
Eichel is the universal #2 pick in the draft, and in any draft without some guy named David McConner, he'd be the unanimous #1 pick. Eichel has produced like a madman for the teams he spends time on; at a 1.78 points per game pace for BU, a 1.61 ppg pace for the Boston Jr. Bruins in the EmJHL, 1.25 in the US Development Pool, and 1.22 in the USHL.
At 6'2" and 196 pounds, Eichel is a big boy, and he plays like it. His fast, physical game is brutal to play against, and you want to talk about puck skills? Eichel is a beast, and anyone would be lucky to have him. He's about as close to a sure thing as you get in the NHL draft. Elite Prospects has this to say of Jack:
When Jack Eichel is on the ice, the pace of the play shifts; if players can't keep up, they are left behind. A consistent scoring threat on the ice, Eichel possesses next-level hockey-IQ, an elite-level skillset, and the natural size and work ethic to let him play his role as a scoring power center. All-in-all, Jack Eichel is that uncontainable, dynamic center that can make other players look out of place in his wake.
How He'd Fit with the Wild
Like a well-worn glove. Eichel is the big centerman that teams dream about; defensively sound, physical, and with great hands. He is who we wish Charlie Coyle would be. If Eichel somehow fell to the Wild, they would be the luckiest team, hands down (unless McDavid also falls). Not gonna happen.