Jack Eichel gets mostly booed in return to Buffalo; Sabres win
The Jack Eichel era for the Buffalo Sabres did not go as anybody expected it to go. His arrival was supposed to be the turning point for the franchise and help return it back to contender status in the Eastern Conference. But after years of mismanagement and a drawn out departure that resulted in a trade request, Eichel being stripped of his captaincy and the team not allowing him to get the surgery he desired, he was finally traded earlier this season to the Vegas Golden Knights in a deal that included Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, and two conditional draft picks (including a top-10 protected first-round pick) going to Buffalo.
On Thursday, Eichel made his first return back to Buffalo as a visiting player since the trade. He did not get a warm reception from the sparse crowd in attendance for the Sabres’ 3-1 win.
Eichel was booed every time he touched the puck on his opening shifts, and even when he was simply on the ice and not touching the puck. During a tribute video during a stoppage in play there was a mixture of boos and cheers.
[Related: Eichel trade paying off for both Golden Knights, Sabres so far]
Eichel played 375 games for the Sabres over six seasons, scoring 362 total points (142 goals, 220 assists) while being one of the best players in the league. The Sabres never appeared in a playoff game with him in the lineup, largely due to repeated blunders in management and a revolving door of coaches and general managers that were unable to build anything around him and the core of Sam Reinhart, and Rasmus Dahlin. Dahlin is the only member of that trio that still remains in Buffalo. Reinhart was also traded this offseason, going to the Florida Panthers for a first-round draft pick and prospect Devon Levi.
The Sabres won the game thanks to goals from Krebs and Tuch, the two players acquired in the trade for Eichel.