CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Nearly everywhere Jack Eichel goes nowadays, a microphone or tape recorder ends up in his face. He turned the tables Thursday after a skills clinic with Florida youth players.
After a long session with reporters, Eichel borrowed a recorder from an NHL.com writer and joined an interview of fellow draft prospect Mitch Marner. Eichel, expected to be drafted second overall by the Sabres on Friday, happened to stop by just after a questioned was posed to Marner about Eichel.
“He’s not as good as I really thought he was,” Marner said with a smile as he saw Eichel with the recorder. “I think he’s got up-and-coming skill. He’s a big guy. I thought he was a little stronger on his feet. I kind of pushed him off easily on the ice, but he’s getting a lot better.”
Eichel is 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, while Marner is 5-11 and 160.
Eichel then fired away with questions at Marner.
“How’d you think that goalie felt today when you top cheese on him?” Eichel asked. “He’ll probably remember that forever, huh?”
“Yeah, I gave him a hug after and said, ‘You’ll get me next time,’” Marner said. “Then Jack went down and put it between his legs and embarrassed him completely in front of everyone. Once again, Jack just being Jack, and it doesn’t really surprise me too much. He’s just trying to show his skill, and he wasn’t showing too much. It just wasn’t really showing too much, but it happens.”
“How many goals did you have this year in the OHL?” Eichel said.
“I don’t really know, ask Stromer. Dylan knows all the points,” Marner said of prospect Dylan Strome.
“How many more points did he have than you?” Eichel said, needling his cohort who finished three points behind Strome in the Ontario Hockey League scoring race.
“I think he had four or five,” Marner said. “He’s a skilled player. Gets lucky sometimes, but other than that, it happens.”
Eichel, out of questions, walked away with a smile.
“We’ve gotten together quite a bit and had a good time with each other, joking around,” Marner said. “This group’s come together really quick. We’re joking around with each other a lot more, getting to know each other more. It’s a lot more fun when you know someone and you can say jokes on them. We’re all a tight group now.”