Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain, the team announced Sunday.
Eichel was injured on Saturday as his team faced off against the Boston Bruins. He fell awkwardly during the first period after getting tangled up with Matt Gryzlak.
He was unable to put any weight on his right leg as he headed to the dressing room. He did not return to the game.
Buffalo actually pulled off a rare win against the Bruins, but losing Eichel isn’t exactly great news. To say the least.
The Sabres are a dismal 16-29-10 this season, which puts them in the basement of the Eastern Conference by a fair margin. Only the Arizona Coyotes are worse in the NHL.
But Eichel has continued to play solid hockey and has been a rare bright spot in Buffalo, with 53 points in 55 games. He has 22 goals and 31 assists, with three goals on the power play and a total of 13 power play points.
The 2015 first-rounder has fuelled the Sabres’ offence by a wide margin, but he can’t shoulder the burden alone and the team simply requires more than one man to venture out of the proverbial basement.
Still, this will hurt and Eichel’s absence will put a dent in things.
He missed 21 games at the start of the 2016-2017 season with a severe high ankle sprain, so this isn’t exactly new territory for the Sabres. Despite that, Eichel still produced 57 points in 61 games for Buffalo.
If this injury is anything like that injury, Eichel could be on the shelf for four to six weeks.
In 197 games with the Sabres, the 21-year-old has 166 points.