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Jack Eichel Has “No Hard Feelings” In Return His To The Buffalo Sabres

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NHL trade, Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights

We are now eleven games into the Jack Eichel era of Vegas Golden Knights history. The superstar center who came off artificial disk replacement surgery in mid-November is fitting in nicely with his new team. While the team overall has gone 4-5-1 since Eichel’s arrival, Eichel himself has not been the problem.

He has three goals, which include two game-winners, and four assists for seven points in eleven games. He is slowly but surely getting back to 100% after missing over a year with a neck injury.

We all know the story of Eichel and his eventful last few years, but Thursday night another tidbit will be added to the story. For Eichel, it will be the closing chapter for his history with the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel will make his return to Keybank Center in to play the Sabres for the first time since being traded.

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan caught up with Eichel and got his thoughts on his return to the Sabres organization.

“It obviously ended a little bit messy, but I hope they can look past some of the things that happened maybe in the last year and think about the previous five-and-a-half to six years that I was there and everything that I tried to do for the community,” Eichel told Kaplan.

The messiness that Eichel is referring to is, of course, how his time in Buffalo ended. The Sabres were very adamant on Eichel playing through the remainder of the 2020-21 season despite Eichel requesting surgery on his neck. He was stripped of his captaincy in September of 2021.

“I was frustrated. If you think about the reason why they took the captaincy away from me, it was because I didn’t agree with them medically. Then they basically told me not to come around for training camp. At that point, it just felt like they were toying with me. So I was just, I was pretty over with it.”

Eichel and a 2023 third round pick were traded to the Vegas Golden Knights on November 4th, 2022 in exchange for Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, a 2022 first round pick and a 2023 third-round pick. The Golden Knights still have to work out the salary cap regarding Eichel and his $10 million salary. They are currently doing so by having Mark Stone and Alec Martinez sit on LTIR.

In six seasons with the Sabres Eichel scored 139 goals, 216 assists, and 355 points in 375 games.

A video tribute is confirmed to play during Eichel’s return. Vegas Hockey Now will be in the building to get the fans reaction to Eichel’s return.

“You wonder what the reception will be like, but I can’t control that. I gave everything I had while I was here. Whatever the reception is, I’ll be able to handle it,” said Eichel after Thursday’s morning skate.

Here’s the full media availability from Eichel this morning.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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