Sabres’ Eichel returns to practice for first time since ankle injury

Watch as Jack Eichel beats Mike Smith in OT to give the Buffalo Sabres the 2-1 win.

The Buffalo Sabres’ season is a wash but, as they look to gain positive momentum heading into the off-season, the team is on the verge of getting its best player back.

Jack Eichel returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since mid-February. He led the team stretch and skated on a line with Jason Pominville and Zemgus Girgensons.

The 21-year-old was injured in a Feb. 10 game in Boston when he was taken down by Bruins defenceman Matt Grzelcyk. His expected recovery time was four to six weeks.

Despite playing only 55 games this season, Eichel still leads the Sabres in goals (22), assists (31) and points (53).

Eichel signed an eight-year, $80-million contract extension in October, which will kick in next season. He is second only to Connor McDavid in points among players from the 2015 NHL Draft class with 166 in 197 games.

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