There were about 1,000 fans in attendance Friday as the Sabres opened training camp, and plenty of them wore No. 15 jerseys with Jack Eichel’s name on the back.
Eichel, however, wore No. 41.
“I’ve said this all along: I still have to earn a position, earn a role on the Sabres,” Eichel said in First Niagara Center. “That’s what training camp’s for, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Until then I’m No. 41 as I wore at development camp and as I wore at the prospects tournament.”
Dan Bylsma likes Eichel’s mind-set regarding the number.
“In the National Hockey League, you don’t get a number until you make the team,” the coach said. “You have to earn it. The number or position’s not going to be given just because we drafted the second pick overall.
“He’s an outstanding player. He’s got elite skill, I think, in speed and skating, but he has to earn it. He will.”