Eichel Era Begins Tonight
The Buffalo Sabres open their 2015-16 campaign with a home tilt against the Ottawa Senators tonight and oh yeah—some kid named Jack Eichel is making his NHL debut.
Going by the forward lines at this morning’s game night skate, Eichel will be centering Evander Kane and their 2014 second overall draft selection, Sam Reinhart. Team captain Brian Gionta was expected to be play on Eichel’s line but is out tonight with a lower body injury.
Eichel told John Vogl of the Buffalo News that he is trying to treat his debut like it’s any other game.
"As you go up in your career you start to build a routine before games," Eichel told Vogl. "It seems like you’re doing it before every game, no matter where you’re playing, no matter what game it is. I think that’s comes into hand here. You just go about your daily routine like it’s any other game.”
Good luck with that, Jack.
Highly sought (and handsomely paid) newcomer Ryan O’Reilly is centering Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis on the top line. It appears Johan Larrson will center Marcus Foligno and Zegmus Girgensons on the third line, while David Legwand is between Nicholas Deslauriers and Jamie McGinn.
Defensively it looks like the pairings will consist of Mark Pysyk/Josh Gorges, Rasmus Ristolainen /Carlo Colaiacovo and Cody Franson/Mike Weber.
Acquired in an offseason trade with Ottawa, Robin Lehner will get his first Sabres start in net.
If you think this team, at least in terms of personnel is anything like the past two years, think again. Half of the 18 skaters in the lineup tonight were not on the team at the end of last season. That doesn’t include Lehner in net or Dan Blysma behind the bench as the Sabres new head coach. Girgensons also missed the final 21 games of last season with a leg injury.
We’ll have full coverage of tonight’s opener immediately following the game.