A dynamic season in which Jack Eichel scored a career-high 36 goals in 68 games while generating Hart Trophy buzz has earned the captain the Buffalo Sabres’ MVP award for 2019-20.
Eichel was also named Sabres Foundation Man of the Year for his work in the community. Meanwhile, 20-goal winger Victor Olofsson was named the Sabres’ rookie of the year and veteran winger Kyle Okposo, who enjoyed a terrific bounce-back season, was named the unsung hero.
The Sabres, of course, usually announce their player awards before a late-season home game. But because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NHL to cancel the Sabres’ final 13 games, the team released the winners today, the first day of their “Jersey Reveal Week.”
The Sabres plan to release their new uniforms featuring royal blue at 9 a.m Tuesday.
Eichel, 23, enjoyed a breakout season, scoring 78 points, the NHL’s 10th-highest total. The center set a new career-high by averaging 1.15 points per outing and compiled a 17-game point streak that fell one contest shy of Gilbert Perreault’s franchise record.
Olofsson, 25, showcased strong chemistry as Eichel’s left winger most of the campaign, quickly morphing into one of the league’s top rookies. If an ankle injury hadn’t sidelined him 14 games in the winter, the Swede might’ve been a finalist for the Calder Trophy.
After battling concussions and struggling for stretches of the previous two seasons, Okposo, 32, thrived in a new checking role in 2019-20. Okposo thrived as the right winger beside center Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons, scoring nine goals and 19 points in 53 games.
The line was arguably the Sabres’ most consistent and reliable.