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Jack Eichel on Sabres’ offseason moves: ‘It’s so hard to win when you’re young’

Amid an end-of-season interview with reporters in May that included expressions of frustration, captain Jack Eichel noted he wanted to see the Buffalo Sabres add more veterans to the dressing room.

Eichel’s new boss, General Manager Kevyn Adams, delivered by acquiring former Stanley Cup Eric Staal, signing former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and adding center Cody Eakin. The moves apparently earned high marks from Eichel, who turned 24 years old last month and is coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 36 goals in 68 games.

During a recent appearance on the hockey podcast “Missin’ Curfew,” which is hosted by former NHLers Shane O’Brien, Scottie Upshall and Jimmy Hayes, Eichel was asked what the Sabres need to snap their nine-year playoff drought.

His answer again reflected a desire for the Sabres to go older. Former General Manager Jason Botterill, who was fired in June with two years remaining on his contract, went younger with Buffalo’s roster in previous seasons by trading Ryan O’Reilly and providing significant NHL opportunities to Tage Thompson and Casey Mittelstadt. Zach Bogosian, a veteran defenseman who is a close friend of Eichel, went on to win the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay after being waived by the Sabres last February.
“I know the league is trying to go younger, but I think that you still need those older guys, the veteran guys, the guys that have been there and won. I think you need them in your locker room, first of all, and you need them on the ice. We’ve definitely been young. We’ve been in a transition for a few years now. There’s always young guys coming through the organization and you want to see everyone have success, but you look at the transformation that our team made this offseason.