We’re getting down to the nitty gritty here at the Nation Network draft profiles. In fact, we’re down the No. 2 guy on everyone’s draft board, and our very last profile. Yup it’s Buffalo-bound Jack Eichel, who is largely considered the second- or third-best prospect to come along in the last several years (behind you-know-who this year, and Nathan MacKinnon two years back).
A lot has been said about Eichel by this point, but here’s a run-down.
- Age: 17.88 years old at start of season. Born Oct. 28, 1996.
- Birthplace: North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, USA
- Frame: 6’2, 196 lbs
- Position: C
- Draft Year Team: Boston University Terriers (Hockey East/NCAA)
- Accomplishments: Well, all this:
- TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
- TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
- EAdj per game = Era-adjusted (vs. NCAA 1992-present) per game
|PCS% 2014||PCS Pts/82 2014||PCS% 2015||PCS Pts/82 2015|
|PCS Most NHL GP||PCS Highest Pts/GP|
|Joe Murphy||Joe Murphy|
- PCS = Our Player Cohort Success model. Click here for more information about PCS.
From Future Considerations:
A very consistent offensive force who brings it every shift…tough to
contain for his peers as he can bull his way where he wants as well as
maneuver the puck with skilled hands…is a responsible defensive player
who has the ability to pick-pocket the puck on the backcheck and start
up ice quickly…is dangerous with a strong selection of shots, plus
elite-level playmaking skills that include the ability to find seams
with impressive vision and deceptive passing…gives strong efforts and
plays in all situations…relentless on puck pursuit…NHL star in the
From Craig Button:
The scouting report on Jack Eichel is about power and grace, and he makes it look exceedingly easy. His exceptional reach and puck skills make him dangerous in traffic, and a threat at all times. He has outstanding vision — to the point of seeing the unseen — and the ability to exploit those offensive opportunities quickly. He’s a competitor, and all the time when you hear about players raising their level at the most important times, that is exactly what Jack does. He’s got a very good shot, but he misses the net a little bit too much. Once he starts to hit the net on a regular basis, he could become a deadly scorer.
Jack Eichel is on the ice, the pace of the play shifts; if players
can’t keep up, they are left behind. A consistent scoring threat on the
ice, Eichel possesses next-level hockey-IQ, an elite-level skillset, and
the natural size and work ethic to let him play his role as a scoring
power center. All-in-all, Jack Eichel is that uncontainable, dynamic
center that can make other players look out of place in his wake.
There isn’t a national writer who has seen Jack Eichel play more games in the past calendar year than me (21 of his 40), and I can tell you that everything you see said about him above is 100 percent true. At the college level, he effectively has no deficiencies to his game.
In the past I have written about him here (attempting to nail down just how great an effect he had on BU overall), here (era-adjusting his production to see how it compares with Paul Kariya’s 100-point freshman year at Maine in 1992), and here (comparing what he did with Connor McDavid’s season) among other places. These were deeply statistical looks, and if you’re interested — they’re very interesting — those are all worth a look.
But beyond that, I’d like to get a little anecdotal when talking about Eichel, who is the finest player I have seen in the 20-plus years I’ve been watching college hockey (I started so long ago that Dwayne Roloson hadn’t graduated yet). As David Foster Wallace once wrote about Roger Federer, in one of the single greatest pieces of sports journalism since the turn of the century, there were routinely “Eichel Moments” this season that just defied what the normal college player can do by such a large amount that everyone in press row would just say, “Wowwwwww” and start laughing. Such was his power.
I’ll give you an example, beyond the ability to take two steps from a standing position and be past anyone on the ice, beyond the ability to scythe through opponents’ defenses as if they weren’t there, and beyond the superhuman ability to see everyone on the ice at all times:
Eichel was occasionally accused of sometimes dogging it because, as Button said, he made everything look so easy that the appearance of trying hard would have been out of place. Everything he did was more or less what he wanted to do this season. Also, his strides are so big, powerful, and effortless that he never looks like he’s skating his ass off. So there was a play against Northeastern (I think.. I saw a lot of BU games this year and it’s hard to keep them all straight) where BU has had a bunch of zone time — y’know, because Eichel was on the ice, and that’s what happened when Eichel was on the ice — and NU was attempting feverishly to clear it. The puck kind of rolls down to the end boards to the left-wing side of the net, and Eichel has two defenders between him and the puck. And he just stepped around them and got there first. That was it. That was the moment. The first guy easily had a stride and a half on Eichel, and there was a guy behind him who could have run some kind of interference. Eichel went and got the puck like he was the only one below the goal line. He casually passed it back to the point, and I think the next shot attempt got saved and covered.
But he literally created a scoring chance out of something that should have been an easy clearance. People talk about 50-50 pucks, but this was a 95-5 puck at best, and he got there on the 5.
Here’s another example that’s stats-related: BU understandably used Eichel on its top penalty killing unit, and it allowed a staggering 30 power play goals (48th out of 59 NCAA teams). And they took more penalties than all but eight teams, so Eichel was on the PK a lot. Of those 30 goals against, just eight came with Eichel on the ice. And at the same time, the Terriers scored six shorthanded goals with Eichel on (and one without). So Eichel finished the season minus-2 on the PK, playing for one of the worse penalty-killing teams in the country. The team without him finished minus-21.
Such is his power. Buffalo is probably getting the best No. 2 pick since Evgeni Malkin, and maybe ever.