During this week at Development Camp, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart have been rooming together. Friday night, they’ll be up against one another at the Blue & Gold Scrimmage.
Both were second-overall selections in their respective draft years and represent a potentially bright future at forward for the Buffalo Sabres.
Reinhart, Buffalo’s top pick in 2014, is set to center the top line for Team Blue while Eichel, Buffalo’s No. 1 selection this year, will dress for Team Gold.
“I’ve played against him twice and there’s no surprise that we went where he went [in the draft],” Reinhart said of Eichel. “I’m lucky to be able go through this with him as well both on and off the ice. To finally get to meet him and get to know him a little bit more, it’s no shock to see what he’s done in the last couple of years.”
A near-sell-out crowd is expected for the scrimmage which begins at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center. Eichel can’t wait to finally put on a Sabres jersey and play in a highly competitive contest. Even if it may just be an intra-squad scrimmage, Eichel is treating it no differently than any other game.
“[There’s ]nothing I love more than to just play hockey,” he said. “That’s what it is – nothing I love more than preparing for a game and just playing. The atmosphere – just the feeling of playing against another team, trying to win a game – I’m just super excited for it.”
Reinhart is expected to play with William Carrier and Hudson Fasching. Eichel’s will be flanked by his former Boston University running mate Evan Rodrigues and Nicholas Baptiste.
“Tonight, the biggest thing is keeping things simple,” Reinhart said. “It’s not the easiest point in the year to jump into a hockey game, but we’re going to keep things simple try and get to know each other as quick as possible out there and have fun with the whole process.”
There’s a good chance the two bunk buddies will be matched up against each other for most of the evening.
“I hadn’t thought about that too much but both times I’ve played him in the past, we’ve seen each other a number of times,” Reinhart said. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.”
While they may be going head-to-head Friday night, the rest of the week has given the two centers an opportunity to get to know each other pretty well.
“It’s gone smoothly – no fights yet,” Reinhart joked.
Eichel said he’s been able learn a lot in the short time he’s gotten to know Reinhart.
“A lot about how things work around here. He’s been around a little bit and basic things – how to handle yourself, how to carry yourself, preparation things like that,” Eichel said. “He’s obviously a leader and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him and learn things from him.”
Reinhart has also gotten to know Eichel pretty well too and is hoping they can have long professional careers together as teammates. Both will be trying to make the Sabres roster at training camp in the fall.
“To finally know that I’m going to get an opportunity and a chance to hopefully play with him and play with him for a long time is exciting,” Reinhart said. “It not only provides healthy competition for each of us, but it’s nice to be in the same position and be able to move forward with him.”