Jack Eichel gets relentlessly booed in hostile return to Buffalo

Whether it was warranted or not, Sabres fans gave former captain Jack Eichel the gears all night long in his return to Buffalo. (Photo via ESPN broadcast)

Thursday night saw Jack Eichel return to Buffalo with his new team, and Sabres fans weren’t shy about letting him know how they feel about him and the way things ended in Buffalo.

Speaking with media yesterday, Eichel acknowledged the fact that the split between himself and the Sabres was messy, but hoped that fans would appreciate all the effort he gave on and off the ice for his five-and-a-half seasons with the organization.

But, as many expected, it didn't quite go down that way.

The 25-year-old was traded to the Golden Knights this past November after he and the Sabres had differing opinions on what type of procedure he should undergo to fix a herniated disc in his neck. They were never able to work things out, and after a summer full of trade rumors Eichel was finally moved in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a top 10 protected first-round pick in 2022, as well as a second-round pick in 2023.

After being drafted second overall in 2017, the hope was that Eichel could turn the Sabres around and have them become a Stanley Cup contender. That plan never came close to fruition, as the team failed to make the playoffs a single time during his tenure. Despite the team's struggles, he was very productive during his time in Buffalo, registering 355 points in 375 games.

It seems at least a few fans were appreciative of that, as he was able to scrounge up a few cheers during a video tribute in the first period.

Now a member of a contending Vegas squad, Eichel will likely see his first playoff action later this year and could be in for a lengthy run on a team that many viewed as a Stanley Cup contender heading into the 2021-22 campaign. He just recently made his season debut following his neck surgery, but is quickly catching stride with three goals and seven points through 10 games thus far.

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