Last season, his second in the National Hockey League, Jack Eichel was agonizingly close to earning a $2 million performance bonus. The North Chelmsford native averaged 0.934 points per game. The bonus kicked in if he finished the year among the league's top 10 in points-per-game production. The Buffalo Sabres' center was in 10th place after playing his final game of the season. Cue the cash register sound. However, Edmonton's Leon Draistaitl had a big final game, upping his average to 0.939 and pushing Eichel down to 11th. Ouch. But weep not for Eichel, who is in talks with the Sabres on a reported eight-year extension that will make him one of the NHL's highest-paid players. "We're in the midst of it. It's between my agent and Mr. (Jason) Botterill," he said Wednesday of Buffalo's new general manager. "I'm just going to work hard this summer. All of that tends to take care of itself. Obviously the contract is important. But for me it's all about the play." If no extension can be agreed upon, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound center will play out the final year of a three-year rookie deal which pays him $925,000 a season. Stability is important, the former Boston University star said. At some point he envisions having a family. "I've made it clear that I want to be a Sabre. I want to be in Buffalo when we start winning. I want to reward the city. It's been two great years. I don't want to go anywhere else," he said. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid early in the offseason agreed to an eight-year, $100 million extension, making him the NHL's highest-paid player. Eichel, who was drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, one spot behind McDavid, will receive less, but his contract with Buffalo will give him plenty of stability if the sides can agree to an extension.
For Jack Eichel, the money is secondary
Lowell Sun | Aug 19