An upper-body injury will keep Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel out for the “foreseeable future,” coach Ralph Krueger said Saturday.
The 24-year-old Eichel last played Sunday in a 5-2 road loss to the New York Islanders. Krueger has declined to offer more specifics about the injury, but Eichel appeared to hurt his neck after a check into the boards by Casey Cizikas late in the third period.
Now, the Sabres, who have a league-low 16 points, are left to hope that Eichel will be able to return this season. A recent out-of-state medical visit upped the initial timeline from seven to 10 days to indefinite.
“An injury of this nature just needs more assessment and more time to understand it,” Krueger said. “I’m being honest with you; we don’t know for certain the timeframe on it. We just know that it will be some time here from shorter all the way to (season ending), but it’s somewhere in between that. Nobody in the National Hockey League speaks specifically about injuries unless season ending and if it did become that we would be able to address it in a different way.”
Eichel missed time in training camp with an upper-body injury and missed two games in February with a lower-body injury.
He has just two goals in 21 games, although his 16 assists are tops on the team.
Eichel recorded a career-high 36 goals to go along with team-best totals in assists (42) and points (78) in 68 games last season. He also pieced together a 17-game point streak during the campaign.
He is in the midst of the third season of an eight-year, $80 million contract signed prior to the 2018-19 season.
Eichel has collected 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 career games since being selected by the Sabres with the second overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.
The Sabres are set to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
–Field Level Media