With his evaluation of the season complete, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray is presenting his findings to owner Terry Pegula on Wednesday. They could contain a bombshell.
Jack Eichel reportedly has no desire to sign a contract extension this summer if Dan Bylsma remains the coach, Paul Hamilton of WGR-AM 550 reported Wednesday. Differences of opinion between Eichel and Bylsma have been mentioned throughout the season.
Eichel's agent, Peter Fish, told The Buffalo News the report is "ridiculous."
“I don’t know where anyone is getting these reports, but they are ridiculous in a word,” Fish said by phone Wednesday. “Jack, he left Buffalo, he thought he had a real good meeting with coach Bylsma and a real good meeting with” General Manager Tim “Murray. When he got home to Boston, he was genuinely excited with the thoughts that maybe they’re just a few players away from getting into the playoffs.
“We hope to be having talks with Tim Murray when the time is right here, and like I said before, he’d like nothing better than to bring the Stanley Cup to Buffalo because it’s a great city. They’re a passionate fan base. A lot of fans are a lot like Jack in the way he grew up in his family. So I just don’t know where this is coming from, and quite frankly it’s someone who’s got an ax to grind for some reason who doesn’t know him and doesn’t understand him.”
If it indeed comes to an either/or scenario, Bylsma is the overwhelming underdog. Murray has made it clear Eichel is his guy.
“He showed some nights that he’s an absolute top, top player in this league, and that’s exciting going forward,” Murray said last week while affirming his desire to lock up the center. “I assume that July 1 we’ll get a call from his agent and start that. If I don’t by July 1, I’ll call him on July 2 and start that.”
Bylsma has three years left on his contract, but Murray has offered several condemning statements about the coach. The biggest was that the coaching staff did not talk to and get to know the players well enough.