Sabres captain Jack Eichel left his future with the team open-ended on Monday, after expressing frustration with treatment options for a herniated disk in his neck.
“There’s been a bit of a disconnect from the organization a bit and myself. It’s been tough at times,” the 24-year-old center told the media on Monday. “Right now, I think for me the most important thing is just trying to get healthy and figure out a way to be available to play hockey next year wherever that might be.”
Eichel, who said he preferred to have surgery on the herniated disk in his neck, hinted the Sabres didn’t prefer that course of treatment.
“It doesn’t work like that. I wish,” he said when asked if he has the final call when it comes to treating the injury. “I’m under contract with this team and they definitely hold a lot of cards on what I can and can’t do.”
Eichel sustained the injury in Buffalo’s 5-2 loss to the Islanders on March 7, when he took a hit from Islanders forward Casey Cizikas. He hasn’t played since, and in mid-April, was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
“I have a lot of thinking to do in this offseason. I think that there’s a lot that I have to consider. But for now, obviously, I’m here,” Eichel said.
The 2015 No. 2 pick had two goals and 16 assists in 21 games this season before he was forced out of the lineup.
Eichel is under contract with the Sabres through 2026, after signing an eight-year, $80 million extension in 2020.