Eichel: 'I'm fed up with the losing and I'm frustrated'
Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel didn't mince words when speaking about missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season since entering the league in 2015.
"Listen, I'm fed up with the losing and I'm frustrated. It's not an easy pill to swallow right now," Eichel said on a conference call Thursday, according to Postmedia's Michael Traikos. "It's been a tough past couple of months and a tough past five years."
After being selected second overall in the 2015 draft, Eichel quickly transitioned into an MVP-caliber player with the Sabres. In the 2019-20 season, he recorded 36 goals and 42 assists in 68 games.
Despite his individual success, the Sabres have failed to break free from the bottom of the league's standings. Since his rookie season, the team has finished in sixth place in the Atlantic Division twice, seventh once, and eighth twice.
The 23-year-old pointed to the newly developed 24-team playoff format as even more reason for his frustration. The Sabres narrowly missed the cut, sitting at 25th place.
"It adds to the frustration that you can't get to a 24-team playoff," Eichel said. "Our goal at the beginning of the season wasn't to make the 24-team playoff. It was to make a 16-team playoff."
He added: "In a situation like this, a lot of the teams that are going to continue to play. They probably thought they were going to be out of it. They’re going to gain valuable experience. Now we're not one of them. It adds to the frustration. It adds to it a lot."
Eichel has led his team in points over the past four seasons. He's recorded 137 goals and 200 assists in 354 career games.