BUFFALO – Jack Eichel is the Sabres’ new captain.
The Sabres, who open the season Thursday against the Boston Bruins, announced late this morning Eichel, 21, would wear the prestigious ‘C.’ Coach Phil Housley also appeared to tell his team as practice wound down.
Eichel, the second overall pick in 2015, is beginning his fourth NHL season. The Sabres went without a captain last season.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Update: An excited and grateful Eichel spoke to the media this afternoon. Some highlights:
Eichel said was cooking dinner Tuesday when Housley called, so he drove over to KeyBank Center and met with his coach, general manager Jason Botterill and owner Terry Pegula.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Eichel said. “I don’t think that I would have been given this opportunity if it wasn’t for the other leaders in this room that pushed me to be better and have taught me a lot about myself.”
Eichel, who’s beginning an eight-year, $80 contract, said they “spoke at lengths about how invested I am in this city and this organization.”
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “I think more it’s more or less just me trying to be myself and continue to do the things that make me the person that I am.”
Eichel said he believes “the strongest leadership is leadership by committee.”
“I think we have a group of them,” he said. “I think we have a good group and we’re continuing to develop and continuing to get better. But I like where we’ve been after camp. I think the overall morale and the room itself is changing and heading in the right direction.”
The Sabres also named defenseman Zach Bogosian and winger Kyle Okposo alternate captains.
Check back later for more.