Here's the answer you've been waiting for: Jack Eichel will wear No. 15 once he rolls on the ice for games with the Buffalo Sabres this fall.
"If the opportunity presented itself to make the team and be a part of the Sabres next year, I'd be wearing No. 15," Eichel said today in First Niagara Center following the pregame skate for tonight's development camp scrimmage. "I had a few numbers I had in mind. I didn't really want to pick one because I didn't want to make it seem like I was already content on making the team.
"It's a number my sister has worn, my dad has worn and I've worn before. It's their lucky numbers. It happened to be the year I got drafted. I like the number and I think it would be really nice to wear it if the opportunity presents itself to be on the Sabres next year."
Shortly after Eichel let the cat out of the bag when asked if there's any update by Sabres television intermission host Brian Duff, the team tweeted a limited number of No. 15 Eichel jerseys will be available tonight in The Sabres Store. Uh-huh.
(For a list of all No. 15s in Sabres history, see our related post)
Eichel was handed No. 41 for development camp and said he expects to get handed another similar number when training camp comes in September. But come the preseason opener Sept. 21 in Minnesota, it's pretty clear what number he'll be wearing.
Eichel wore No. 9 at Boston University and for Team USA at the World Championships but the number was not available here because it belongs to Evander Kane.
Meanwhile, the Sabres say their tickets-sold count as of 11 a.m. for tonight's scrimmage is over 13,000 and more sections are being opened on the 300 level.
"It's been a great week so far and I think this is going to be a great opportunity for all of us," Eichel said. "Obviously, there's going to be a lot of people here. I'm just excited for it. It's hockey and it feels like I've been waiting for it for a while."
Connor McDavid scored five goals in Edmonton's scrimmage this week, although it wasn't a regulation game like the Sabres will play tonight. Naturally, Eichel was asked about trying to match that.
"I'm not really worried about him scoring five goals. It was four-on-four, full ice," he said. "A little bit different scenario. I'm going to go out, compete my hardest, do the things that made me successful."