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Jack Eichel confirms he has ‘no problem playing the year out’

Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 03: Jack Eichel #15 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 3, 2017 in New York City. The Sabres defeated the Rangers 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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On Monday, PHT passed along word from TSN’s Darren Dreger that Jack Eichel wouldn’t lose any sleep over entering the 2017-18 season without a contract extension from the Buffalo Sabres.

A day later, Eichel confirmed as much to reporters including the Buffalo News’ John Vogl.

“I have no problem playing the year out,” Eichel told reporters Tuesday in Buffalo. “If that happens, it happens. Obviously, I’m pretty adamant on staying a Sabre and staying in Buffalo, but it’s not something I can really control here. I can just control my play.”

Buffalo station WGR 550 provided full audio:

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Vogl notes that Eichel’s agent believes that negotiations have slowed, but that there wouldn’t be an issue if the Sabres wanted to reconvene during the season itself.

As mentioned yesterday, it’s my opinion that the Sabres would probably be better off locking up Eichel sooner rather than later. The young forward would likely prefer to get that settled from the sheer standpoints of a) not answering questions about his contract all season and b) securing the peace of mind that comes with what would likely be a long-term deal in a violent sport where injuries can change the narrative in a heartbeat.

Injuries are also an argument for the Sabres putting this situation to rest.

Eichel was almost a point-per-game player in 2016-17, yet he missed more than 20 games, limiting his counting stats. He also has been shooting at around 10 percent for his career, so Eichel could theoretically light it up with the right puck and injury luck.

(This post goes into more detail about how Eichel could easily enjoy a big year if just a few things go right.)

Considering how much he can conceivably manage if his contract year goes swimmingly, it makes sense that Eichel wouldn’t panic about this situation. The Sabres are instead the ones who are most likely to benefit from getting this done as soon as possible.