Former Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eicher missed the playoffs last season with a talented Vegas Golden Knights team.
Jack Eicher isn’t the most popular man in Queenstown. Luckily for Buffalo Sabres fans, without a former No. 2 overall pick, the team has fared better so far, even sabotaging his return in March. Fast forward to April, and Eicher was part of the first Golden Knights team to miss the playoffs.
It’s safe to say that the Sabres won the trade, and with Eichel posting his lowest scoring average since his rookie season, it’s a sign that the two teams are heading in opposite directions. As the Sabres head north, Eichel is freefalling south.
So now that the Sabers look like a rising team, let’s have fun and assume who might end up scoring more points than the infamous former Sabre. Here are three names to look for.
Buffalo Sabers to outscore Eichel: 1 – Tage Thompson
In predicting Tage Thompson’s 2022-23 season, I said he would average a point. Assuming Tage stays healthy, he will reach a milestone that Eichel has achieved only twice in his career. No, Tage hasn’t reached the one-point-per-game mark yet, but he’s also been forced to struggle behind the Ralph Krueger-led Buffalo Sabres disaster.
Entering Don Granato, Tage began to flourish, which really started after Pegulas shrugged off the mistakes of a man capable of developing young players. Under Granato, Tagg led the team in the standings and seemed to get better as the season progressed, scoring 38 goals.
Player #2 – Rasmus Darling
Dahlin may be a defensive player, but Zach’s prediction is in line with what many expected from Dahlin’s breakout season.Well, maybe not break out, Given his performance in 2021-22, he will have a breakout season. But Darling’s scoring and defensive performance continued to pick up as the Sabres swooned in March and April.
Even at the low end of Zach’s prediction — 15 goals and 50 assists — would give Darling 65 points this year. That’s just 12 points higher than his 53 points in 2021-22, which puts him at 0.792 points per game in 82 games. Last season, Eicher averaged 0.05 points below that.
If Darling hits higher range, and he has the opportunity to do so, he’ll have 80 points with 20 goals and 60 assists. Counting 82 games gives you 0.975 points per game. There’s no guarantee Darling will get any of that, but if his performance continues to rise, he has a chance.
Player #3 – Victor Olofsson
At the end of last season, no one on the Buffalo Sabres shot up like Victor Olofson. He has his flaws, including a three-month drought without a goal. But his resurgence has earned him 28 points in the final 33 games of the 2021-22 season, averaging 0.848 points per game.
Olofson also saw time at the top scoring line, telling us the coaching staff believes he can be the top scorer in this league. He’s also at least cementing his place in the second tier for the 2022-23 season. In addition, Olofsson’s 65 percent of his games were evenly scored, another career high.
The obvious dark horse, if Olofsson plays like he did at the end of last season, and really before his wrist injury, he could easily challenge Eicher in 2022-23.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)