The Buffalo Sabres should get excited for Jack Eichel
Immature reaction from general manager Murray overshadows Eichel's promise
This year, the Buffalo Sabres even lost at losing. Thanks to an unfortunate twist of fate in the lottery, the team’s hard-fought last-place position in the NHL was for naught.
And thanks for General Manager Tim Murray’s adolescent reaction, even the team’s offseason started on a sour note.
Despite the Sabres’ concerted efforts to tank in order to ensure a spot at the bottom of the rankings, the team ended up with the second overall draft pick, losing the first spot to the almost-as-terrible Edmonton Oilers, who have won the draft four times in the last six years.
Apparently the Oilers are far more skilled at winning the lottery than achieving victory on the ice, and they’re definitely luckier than the Sabres – this is the second year in a row that Buffalo lost the first round pick out of sheer bad luck.
So it’s understandable that Murray would be frustrated. But his public reaction is indefensible.
Murray stated that he was “disappointed” for Sabres fans and that the team would have to “deal with it.”
If Murray’s comments only had relevance to the lottery results themselves, to the Sabres’ bad luck and unpleasant past season, his comments wouldn’t be so problematic.
But unfortunately, Murray’s openly expressed disappointment also acts as a blatant insult to the player the team is likely to pick up now that they have the second round pick.
Because the Oilers now have the chance to snatch up Connor McDavid – arguably the most promising draft pick since Sidney Crosby and widely considered to be a once-in-a-generation player – the Sabres are left with the number two guy Jack Eichel.
To Murray, apparently, Eichel is a disappointment.
In reality, he’s a star.
He’s not McDavid, but that’s pretty much his only flaw.
With commentators already predicting his future spot in the Hall of Fame and praising everything from his size to his playmaking ability, the current Boston University standout can make a real difference for the Sabres.
Both Eichel and McDavid are top-tier picks and Murray should have been prepared to celebrate the prospect of either player.
Certainly losing the lottery was a blow, but it shouldn’t have come as a complete shock – Murray knew the odds going in.
As the general manager of an NHL team, Murray should be able to maintain a level of professionalism at critical times like these.
His reaction is especially problematic because Eichel hasn’t even committed to leaving school to join the NHL yet. If he’s legitimately on the fence, hearing Murray’s negative opinion of him could do real damage.
The Sabres lost all season, but they didn’t lose much in the lottery – Eichel can still be a boost to the roster next year. That much is obvious, or at least it should be. Clearly, Murray didn’t get the message.
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