Jack Eichel (Richard T. Gagnon / Getty Images Sport)
Jack Eichel, the consensus second overall pick in the 2015 draft, says he hasn’t yet made up his mind on whether or not he’ll turn pro next season. Eichel was incredible for the NCAA’s Boston Unviersity in 2014-15, winning the Hobey Baker Award with 26 goals and 71 points in 40 games and might return to the club for the upcoming campaign.
Connor McDavid is set to go first overall to the Oilers and will likely be in Edmonton’s lineup next season, but Jack Eichel, the consensus second overall pick, isn’t sure if he’ll be playing the 2015-16 campaign in Buffalo should the Sabres select him.
Ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final at Chicago’s United Center, Eichel and a number of other top prospects, McDavid included, met with media and was asked about his future.
“There’s a lot of pros and cons about going both places,” Eichel said Monday, according to NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk. “It’s not an easy decision — that’s why I haven’t really made it yet.”
So, when will the decision come? Eichel has previously stated that he’ll make his choice between returning to the Boston University Terriers and turning pro after the draft.
“It would be another great year of development, college hockey and life with Coach (David) Quinn,” Eichel said following this season’s NCAA Frozen Four tournament. “There are positives to it any way you look at it. At the end of the day, when a decision has to be made, I will make it with my family and with my heart. I don’t want to be somewhere that I don’t want to be.”
Eichel has long been considered one of the top two prospects in the upcoming draft, with his talent level putting him alongside McDavid and earning Eichel the title of, “generational player.” Last season, he was far and away the best player in the NCAA, earning the Hobey Baker Award as NCAA MVP.
In 40 games with BU, Eichel notched a remarkable 26 goals and 71 points last season and was added to the US World Championship squad for the tournament in the Czech Republic. At the Worlds, Eichel registered two goals and seven points in 10 outings as the American squad went on to capture the bronze medal.
Should Eichel return to the NCAA, he will join the Terriers as an assistant captain for the upcoming season. Eichel was handed the leadership role at the end-of-season banquet for the BU team, something that came as somewhat of a shock considering where Eichel stands to be drafted and that he could step into a role with the Sabres immediately.
Ultimately, as Eichel says, it will come down to a choice: does he want to take one more crack at the Frozen Four title with his Terriers teammates or does he feel now is the time to turn pro? Any injury sustained in the college ranks could deliver a serious blow to Eichel’s future but maybe he’s willing to risk that for a shot at NCAA glory one year after coming just one win short.
But with less than three weeks remaining before Eichel is likely taken with the second overall pick, everyone will have to wait and see what the future holds for one of the most sought after prospects in recent history.