Sabres' Eichel thinks Krueger is being well received

Jack Eichel feels that he can score more goals

Paul Hamilton
September 12, 2019 - 2:49 pm

Photo: Paul Hamilton (@pham1717)

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Jack Eichel and his teammates reported to training camp on Thursday. Eichel was one of the first players that got to meet new coach Ralph Krueger when he went over to Slovakia to meet with him and Sam Reinhart during the World Championship in May. Eichel said, “I think he brings a great energy to the rink, there’s a lot of positivity from him.

“He’s super excited and that makes the guys excited. I think talking to him, his plans and his mindset, I think the guys have responded well to it.”

One thing the players keep talking about is when they talk with Krueger, many topics are covered and the captain likes that about him, “A lot of it has been about hockey, but we’ve really gotten to know each other, he wants to know you as a human being, he wants to know about your family, your likes and dislikes away from the rink and I think he cares a lot about everyone.”

It seems like the Sabres have added to their bottom-nine forwards. It’s obvious they need more production from there and Eichel said, “It’s great, you add a guy like Marcus Johansson, he had a heck of a playoff, he’s a veteran in the league and you can say the same for Colin Miller, somebody who has been to the Cup Finals, he’s been on a couple of good runs with Vegas and he’s got some good experience.

“I think Vesey will be a good addition as well, I think his ability to find the back of the net, I think he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder and I think it’s good for him, I think he’s going to fit in really well, I worked out with him all summer, so I think he’s prepared to have a really good year.”

Johansson has played 94 playoffs games, Miller has put in 30, while Vesey has 12 playoff games.

Last season, Jack Eichel was fifth in the league ripping 303 shots on goal. The problem is his shooting percentage was only 9.2%. Leon Draisaitl scored 50 goals and his shooting percentage was 21.6%, meaning he took 72 fewer shots than Eichel and scored 22 more goals. Eichel said he’s put in a lot of work to change that, “I’ve always wanted to score more goals, find the back of the net more.

“It improved from year three to four, but I think there’s another step to take in terms of becoming an elite goal scorer and a little bit of it is a mindset, at times I pass up good opportunities, but it’s tough to score goals in this league. I worked at it this summer and a lot of it is wanting to shoot the puck more and it’s opportunities that if you’re around the net to get the puck on net.”

In his four years, Eichel has scored 24 goals, 24 goals, 25 goals and 28 goals. Because of injuries, he averages 29 goals every 82 games. If you look at his shooting percentages every season, it’s 10.1%, 9.6%, 10.2% and 9.2%. His four-year average is 9.7%.

The Sabres have a lot of work to do if they want to make the playoffs this season. Eichel thinks it takes confidence every day, “You look at our first half last year, whether it was a win or a loss, I thought we responded well the next night, we had that win streak, a lot of those games were close, I thought we played confidently whether we were down or up and I think in the second half we got a little bit fragile, it was tough to string wins together and for us it’s all about focus on the next day so if we don’t play well, if things don’t go well, just move on and prepare for the next day.

“I think last year at times maybe we got down on ourselves a little bit and I think it carries over and it’s important to figure out what you did wrong and try to respond the best way you can.”

The Sabres begin skating on Friday with two sessions that are not open to the public.  

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