When it comes to uniforms, Jack Eichel’s number is up.
The center is fond of No. 9, wearing it at Boston University and for USA Hockey. However, Evander Kane already has dibs for the Buffalo Sabres.
Eichel’s fallback number is 11, which he wore as a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program. That is already in the rafters in Buffalo, worn only by Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault.
So what will Eichel choose after Buffalo selects him in the NHL Draft?
“It’s going to be a tough decision,” he said.
Here are some of the available choices and why he should take them:
1: Sure, it is a goalie’s number, but Eichel undoubtedly will be No. 1 in the hearts of Sabres fans. Put it on their backs, too.
10: It’s right in the middle of his usual numbers, plus he was born in the 10th month (October). It has a good history in Buffalo with Craig Ramsay and Dale Hawerchuk.
13: In honor of an awkward interview with Olga Khmylev at the world championships, Eichel could don the number formerly worn by her dad, Yuri.
15: He’d always remember what year he was drafted. He wore it during the 2014 world juniors.
32: Rob Ray and John Scott combined to wear it for 979 games and found the net just 41 times. There’s obviously plenty of goals left in it.
40: He can look back with fondness at the 40 games he played for Boston University.
48: There are still a lot of Daniel Briere jerseys in Western New York. Eichel can provide them with a new nameplate.
50: Only five players have scored 50 goals in 50 games. Make it an objective and a jersey number.
91: It incorporates his usual numbers of nine and 11. No one has worn it as a member of the Sabres.
96: Sidney Crosby (87) and Patrick Kane (88) have jersey numbers that match their birth year, and they’ve certainly done OK for themselves. Eichel was born in ‘96.
97: Yes, it’s the number Connor McDavid is set to make famous. Eichel can go all-in on the competition and see who wears it better.