Jack Eichel’s appearance in the world championships was also a recruiting trip. He told Cal Petersen that Buffalo is a fine place to be.
Eichel and Petersen spent much of May together, representing the United States at the world championships. Petersen, drafted by the Sabres in 2013, is debating whether to return to Notre Dame for his senior season, sign with Buffalo or leave school and become an unrestricted free agent.
UPDATED: Petersen has left Notre Dame.
“He’s a great kid,” Eichel said Wednesday. “I obviously told him that we’d love to have him. I just kind of gave him a bit of an earful about what Buffalo is like, how passionate the people were here and how great an organization it is.”
The 22-year-old Petersen was promised the starting goaltending job in Rochester next season by former General Manager Tim Murray. Petersen got a chance to gauge his skills against professionals as the United States' third goalie. He has to decide whether it was enough to make the jump or stay in school and possibly represent USA Hockey in the 2018 Olympics.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to him,” Eichel said. “It’s his decision. I told him, ‘You’ve got to do what’s best for you at all times, but if you have any questions, if you need anybody to talk to about it, about the process, the situation, you can reach out to me.’”
Meanwhile, the Sabres have until 5 p.m. Thursday to sign forward prospects Giorgio Estephan and Gustav Possler. If they don’t, they lose their rights to the players.
Estephan is one of the highest-scoring prospects in the organization. The 20-year-old had 35 goals and 89 points in 68 games with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League, then added 11 goals and 24 points in 18 playoff games.
The 6-foot, 190-pound center recorded 114 goals and 267 points in 281 games during his junior career. He had a six-game tryout with Rochester following the 2015-16 season, putting up one goal in six American Hockey League games.
Buffalo drafted him in the sixth round of the 2015 NHL Draft.
The Sabres drafted Possler in the fifth round in 2013. The 22-year-old winger has been playing professionally in his home country of Sweden. An ankle injury limited Possler to 24 games this season, and he recorded three goals and five points.