Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel has been on a heck of a run. If he’d been scoring at this pace all season on a team in a playoff position, there might be MVP consideration. It took him a while to get up to speed following the recovery of his high ankle sprain, and he now says he’s 100 percent. He’s probably been for a while.
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma pinpointed the date of Feb. 1 as a good marker for when his game hit the stride its currently on. Since the start of February, Eichel has 29 points in 25 games. Only Patrick Kane and Nicklas Backstrom have more in that stretch.
“Now he’s just at a point-per-game for the year. Translate that over the course of an 82-game season. ... It’s a remarkable season and it’s a sign of his growth as a player,” Bylsma said. “He’s leaps and bounds ahead of where he was last year.”
For as much attention the top two picks in the 2016 draft have received -- Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine -- Eichel’s surge is a reminder that the very top of the 2015 class is better, with Eichel going second behind Connor McDavid.
It also brings up an interesting debate. Which top-two tandems are the best since 2000?