For so long – longer than either wanted – the comparison was Jack Eichel versus Connor McDavid. On the ice last season, the more accurate comparison was Eichel versus Leon Draisaitl.
While McDavid ran away with the NHL scoring race at 1.22 points per game, Eichel and Draisaitl were neck-and-neck. Draisaitl finished 10th at .94, and Eichel was 11th at .93.
McDavid signed an eight-year, $100 million extension this summer. Draisaitl signed an eight-year, $68 million deal.
That's a huge difference, one that Eichel and his agents surely noticed. He and the Sabres are still working on an extension as the center enters the last year of his entry-level contract.
"It's not really something that's too much on my mind," Eichel reiterated Thursday as the Sabres reported to training camp. "I've kind of let my agents deal with it, told them if we get a deal done before the season, we get a deal done. If we don’t, it's not something I'm worried about. I'm pretty open to just playing and seeing what happens."
Eichel should be open to playing the year out. If he has a McDavid-like season, there is a lot more money to be made.
"I'm here and I just want try and help this team win games," the 20-year-old said in KeyBank Center. "I want to be the best player and teammate that I can be and do as much as I can. I think at the end of the day, if you do the right things that sort of thing will take care of itself."
General Manager Jason Botterill said Monday he is hopeful something will be worked out soon. Eichel won't get bogged down with the negotiation.
"I think it just continues, but it's something, as I said, you hire agents for a reason," Eichel said. "Obviously, Mr. Botterill's a really smart guy. So for me it's more along the lines of just being prepared every day to be the best player I can be and try to help this team be a better team, be a good teammate in the locker room.
"Like I said, if you do that the contract takes care of itself. Whether it's today, tomorrow, a month, eight months, who knows? It's not really something I'm too worried about now."