At this point, we are all familiar and caught up on the Jack Eichel story and are simply just waiting for the next chapter. On November 4th, 2021 the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Eichel in a blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel, who only played 21 games in 2020-21 underwent artificial disk replacement surgery in mid-November after he was acquired by the Golden Knights. His timetable for a return at the time was about three months.
It has been three months.
Eichel has been skating with the Golden Knights since Jan 11th and has yet to shed his no-contact uniform. Comedically, there have even been instances at practices where Eichel uses this to his advantage. Alex Pietrangelo was heard the other day yelling something along the lines of “We can’t hit him, how are we supposed to stop him!”
Luckily for Pietrangelo practices will be the only time in which he will have to defend Eichel. The 25-year old centerman has 355 career points in 375 NHL games. His best season came in 2018-19 where the former no. 2 overall pick scored 82 points in 77 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
I think we all need a refresher on just how great of a player Jack Eichel is. So with today being an off day for the Golden Knights in both game action and for practices, let’s look at some Eichel highlights. Each highlight will have some brief commentary from yours truly, but to summarize very quickly- Jack Eichel is very good at hockey.
I had to start off with an example of just how fast Eichel is, and I think I found the perfect way to do so. Watch as Eichel completely breezes past Shea Theodore and scores a goal on Marc-Andre Fleury back in Jan of 2020.
Pinpoint Shooting Accuracy
One of Eichel’s best attributes to his game is his shot. Not is Eichel’s shot powerful, but it is deadly accurate. I present to you two clips. Eichel snipes on both Petr Mrazek and Anthony Stolarz who both thought they had their posts covered well. But in reality, only a brick wall in the net will be able to stop Eichel’s shot accuracy as he is able to find even the smallest of corners. Not only this but he is able to do it in transition and off the rush, a big part of the Golden Knights game.
I don’t have much to say about this one. Eichel shows his unreal patience and stickhandling skills on this play as he dekes around two-time Stanley Cup champion Eric Cernak and scores on Vezina, Conn Smythe, and also two-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Golden Knights lost Tuesday night to the Carolina Hurricanes as Sebastian Aho scored the overtime game-winner. But adding Eichel gives them another weapon for three-on-three play. Eichel has 25 career game-winning goals, including this one against the Nashville Predators.
The Golden Knights are also going to have a ton of options on the powerplay with everyone fully healthy and Eichel as a new toy for Peter DeBoer and company. Watch as Eichel fires home a one-timer in overtime on the powerplay to torch the Calgary Flames.
Only truly skilled players who have confidence can do what Eichel does in this play. Watch as he takes on nearly the entire Montreal Canadiens in one scoring rush and scores.
Big Time Goals
The Vegas Golden Knights have no shortage of last-minute goals this season and adding Eichel can give them even more of a weapon with the clock running low. Back in his rookie season, Eichel scored an overtime winner against the Carolina Hurricanes with just two seconds left.
His Ability to Take over a Game
Sometimes, possibly due to the team that he was playing on, Eichel simply took things into his own hands and put the Sabres on his back. He has two career hat-tricks with many more to come. Although it might be hard for Eichel to put a team with Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Evgenii Dadonov, Alec Martinez, and William Karlsson on his back.
He’s Really Good At Hockey Guys…
I wanted to include this one simply because it is an awesome highlight but I didn’t have an exact category for it. Remember the Eichel tower? Well, there is the Eifel Tower in Vegas, maybe the Golden Knights will do something fun with that?