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The Buffalo Sabres and center Jack Eichel are reportedly in the midst of negotiations regarding a contract extension that could top out at eight years, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
Citing a person familiar with the negotiations, the AP reported discussions about a new deal for the 2015 No. 2 overall pick have been ongoing for the last month.
“We are talking and I would say that we will be continuing to talk,” Eichel’s agent, Peter Fish, told the AP in a text message.
Eichel is currently under contract on the three-year rookie deal he signed prior to the 2015-16 season. Next year, he’s scheduled to earn a base salary of $832,500 with a $92,500 signing bonus payout and incentives worth more than $2.8 million.
If Eichel were to play out the remainder of that pact without inking an extension, he would become a restricted free agent next summer.
But at this juncture, the Sabres should do everything in their power to lock him up long term.
In his second year with the Sabres, Eichel led the team with 57 points, including 24 goals and 33 assists.
It’s unclear what the financial terms of an extension would look like, but if Eichel does ink a long-term deal with Buffalo, his salary will be compared to Conor McDavid’s after the 2015 No. 1 overall pick and reigning NHL MVP signed an eight-year, $100 million extension in July.
Eichel likely won’t command $12.5 million annually, but he’s due for a hefty raise considering he’s still just 20 years old and likely won’t hit his prime until the end of the decade.