Trouble could be brewing in Buffalo.
The star sophomore is still on his entry-level deal and will be eligible to sign a huge contract extension on July 1. He is scheduled to reach restricted free agency in 2018.
Rumours of a “disconnect” between Bylsma and his players have circulated throughout the season, prompting rumours that the coach’s time with the club could be cut short.
Peter Donatelli, the agent who represents Eichel, denied the player made any such demands during his exit meeting following the season.
Eichel was not afraid to express his frustrations earlier this month when he called 2016-17 “another failed season.”
“Obviously something needs to change and we just need to be playing hockey more at this time next year,” he told reporters after the Sabres’ final home game of the year. “The season can’t end here. So whatever it’s gotta be for us to get there, we gotta do it.”
Bylsma joined the team around the same time Eichel did, signing a five-year deal with the team. The Sabres have registered a combined 68-73-23 record over the past two seasons under Bylsma’s guidance while hovering just above last place both years.
General manager Tim Murray acknowledged some of the team’s dysfunction this season, and said it lands on both coach Bylsma and the players to take responsibility.
“We have to make more demands. So I have to make more demands of Dan. Dan has to make more demands of players,” Murray said last week. “And I personally have to make more demands of myself.”
Per Hamilton’s report, Murray is reported to be meeting with team owner Terry Pegula in Florida on Wednesday.