Connor McDavid, Connor McDavid. Connor McDavid, McDavid, rookie Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers #1 overall pick Connor McDavid and McDavid, Connor. If you buy into the discussion put out there by certain media elites and the Canadian press, the rookie class ended with McDavid's injury against the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this week. A kid living up to the rookie hype! A point-per-game pace at the age of 18! 5 goals and 7 assists... oh, and a minus-4 despite the offensive productivity.
With all the hype, with all the expectations, and all the hyperbole created by those in media power, you wouldn't know Jack Eichel is in the league, or how highly touted Eichel is, or that he was drafted #2 overall this past summer by the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel's production pales in comparison to McDavid (4 goals, 4 points, minus-7 in 12 games played) but he's on a markedly different club with different coaching and different expectations. Oh, and he's good for a dude who turned 19 last week; he's competing and contributing at the NHL level... just without the push that made McDavid hyped as well as a target. Eichel lacks the roster filled with former 1st round draft picks that the Oilers have struggled with under mismanagement that gave the Oilers repeated high-high draft selections.
Eichel is centering the Sabres 2nd line. His wingman was Evander Kane (up until Kane's own injury knocked him out for at least a month) who does defy the lack-of-first-rounders-loaded-roster stuff, but Kane was acquired last season via trade... Not by way of futility. Also having Dan Bylsma as his head coach, who helped hone Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, should help the kid along as the season progresses. Here's to hoping, though, Jack's progression doesn't take leaps and bounds tonight or November 13th, the last two games of the Lightning's season series with the Sabres.
Tampa Bay heads to First Niagara Center tonight with its down ways (14-1 in past six games) in tote while the Sabres are on a two game winning streak and 5-5-0 in their past 10 games played. Perhaps tonight is another step in the right direction? Tampa Bay has outscored the Sabres 6-2 in their first two games combined, taking 53 shots while giving up 57 to the Sabres.
Another odd little facctoid worth mentioning here is that brothers will be at odds tonight: Jamie McGinn will face his brother Tye, who joined the Lightning the other day on recall. Can we say the two squaring off is guaranteed though? The Lightning does have two players in day-to-day status (Jonathan Drouin and Cedric Paquette). The latter's absence is part of what has afforded Tye McGinn an opportunity to play with the Lightning. As of this writing the status of Drouin or Paquette hasn't been set for today (no morning skate yet).