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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #1 Jack Eichel

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Surprise, surprise. On his way out, Eichel is still #1.

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of six staff writers and over 485 fans that ranked Buffalo Sabres players under the age of 25 as of August 10, 2021. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.

Two months later, we’ve finally reached the end of our Top 25 Under 25 rankings. This year’s rankings finishes with former captain Jack Eichel as the top player, in both a surprise and not a surprise at all. This year’s voting came at an interesting time, when the pinnacle of the drama between Eichel and the Sabres was really coming to a head. As I looked through the responses, it was clear that some were turned off by the situation enough to push Jack down in their own rankings, while others still felt he was the best of the best.

In the end, the fan vote was very, very close between Rasmus Dahlin and Eichel for #1. Dahlin won out by such an incredibly small margin that when factored in with the staff votes - all of whom, for the record, put Eichel as #1, it was enough to push Jack to the top. (Staff votes, as in years past, weighed slightly heavier.)

One way or another, this was going to be Jack’s last year on this list. He turns 25 on October 28, so he’s about to age out - not even taking into consideration the fact that he won’t be a member of the Sabres for much longer.

What is there to say about Eichel that hasn’t already been said?

It’s only slightly gut-wrenching to look back at the state of things over the past few years, including when Eichel first arrived on the scene, and see how things rapidly went downhill. When he was drafted, he was quoted as saying “I think Buffalo as a city and the Sabres as a team are headed in a good direction” and “Buffalo wants success and they want success soon and I think that’s what is going to happen.”

Spoiler alert: the success, at least for the team at large, didn’t happen.

Since leaving Boston University and joining the Sabres in 2015, Eichel has appeared in 375 NHL games. He’s averaged 0.94 points/game, which includes 139 goals and 216 assists. Of course, he has never played an NHL playoff game. He was named captain of the Sabres on October 3, 2018 and stripped of that captaincy just shy of three years later.

He’s been number one on this list every year (no surprise), but his time on this list - and with the Sabres - has come to an end, for all intents & purposes.

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