Jack Eichel has not asked to be traded and is preparing to play for the Buffalo Sabres next season, his agent said Monday.
“I hear that (trade talk) a lot,” Eichel’s agent Peter Fish told reporter Bob McKenzie. “Jack wants to win, he’s frustrated (not winning) but, no, he doesn’t want out. Jack is preparing to head to Buffalo at some point here and prepare for the season, whenever that may be. That’s all he controls.”
The 23-year-old center has played 354 games for Buffalo since it selected him No. 2 in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Sabres (30-31-8) finished 13th in the Eastern Conference this season and extended their Stanley Cup Playoff drought to nine seasons, the longest active streak in the NHL.
“Listen, I’m fed up with [losing],” Eichel said in May. “I’m fed up and I’m frustrated … I’d be lying if I said I’m not getting frustrated with the way things are going. … It’s definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now. It’s been a tough couple of months, it’s been a tough five years with where things have went.”
Kevyn Adams was hired as Sabres general manager on June 16, replacing Jason Botterill.
“Had a great call with Jack this morning just to start to talk to him a little bit,” Adams said then of the Sabres captain. “I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you after a few hours on the job that the (to-do) list is long. You can only tackle one at a time.”
Eichel has six seasons remaining on an eight-year, $80 million contract ($10 million average annual value) he signed Oct. 3, 2017.
“I’m a competitor,” he said. “I want to win every time I step on the ice. I want to win the Stanley Cup every time I start a season. I’ve already started to prepare for next season. I’m already back on the ice, I’ve already started training to try to better myself for next season, whenever that is.”
Eichel scored 78 points (36 goals, 42 assists) in 68 games, including a 17-game point streak from Nov. 16-Dec. 17 (16 goals, 15 assists), the longest in the NHL this season. His goals were an NHL career high, and he was four points from his high in points (2018-19).