Despite playing on underachieving Sabres teams and missing 21 games at the start of his 2nd season in the NHL, Jack Eichel has already demonstrated that he can be an elite player in the NHL. Jack fell just short of a point per game pace in 2016/2017 while dealing with the difficult recovery following the high ankle sprain injury he sustained the day before opening night.
Even with these early inconveniences in his career Eichel has provided an intriguing sample of the different ways in which he can put the puck in the net. I went through and got clips of all 48 of his NHL goals through the end of the 16/17 season and broke them down in to 9 different types of goals.
Now before I dive in I want to point out that this a subjective exercise, so a few of his goals fell into a gray area where they could be classified as a different type of goal than what I chose, but even if we decided to recategorize a goal it wouldn't change the totals below by more than 1 goal in either direction.
With that said here is how the first 48 goals of his career have been scored.
Here is where his goals have been scored from.
Before we dive into each type of goal we can spot a few tends in how and where his goals are scored. Unsurprisingly a lot of his goals have come from one-timers which are primarily taken from the off wing inside the circle. The goals where he had time and space with the puck most often came from his strong side on the right wing of the ice, and 6 of his 10 goals on the rush occur toward the middle of the ice, presumably after making an effort to cut closer to the slot area while on the move.
On The Rush - 10 Goals
20.83% of Jack Eichel's goals have been scored on the rush into the zone. His on the rush goals showcase everything about Eichel's game that fans rave about, so it's no surprise that it's tied for the most common form of goal he has scored in the NHL. It's the entire elite package of speed, strength, stick-handling, and a wicked shot on display in one incredible play.
Leading up to the shot he takes advantage of his speed and stick-handling to protect the puck from the opposing team while at the same time forcing the goaltender to move, which makes it more difficult for them to square up on the puck as he approaches the net. On many of these goals you see him make a quick cut toward the slot in an attempt to not only beat the defender, but also force the goaltender to move laterally which almost always opens up a gap for him to shoot for.
One-Timers - 10 Goals
It took former head coach Dan Bylsma far too long to make the move, but he finally placed Jack Eichel on the off wing on the Power-Play and the results have been excellent. Making the change has lead to 10 goals from Eichel on one-timers, tied for most common type of goal Jack has scored.
Jack's one-timers are similar in nature to Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos in that not only is there a ton of power in his shot, but he is able to pick corners with precision and take advantage of a goaltender moving laterally in an attempt to square up to the shot.
Time & Space - 8 Goals
While most of the goal categories are pretty self-explanatory, I should probably take a second to explain why I describe these set of 8 goals as Time & Space goals. Basically what happens here is Eichel is either given or creates for himself time and space with the puck before proceeding to take a look at the net and firing a wrist shot past the goaltender.
On these goals Jack recognizes the opportunity to take a second and set up a shot because one way or another he has obtained significant time and space with the puck in a shooting area and is able to load up a wrist shot. Most goalies are able to square up on these shots but when the opposing skaters give an elite player like Eichel uncontested time with the puck he's going to score on a regular basis.
One final note, unlike his one-timers, a majority of his time and space goals come from his strong side on the right wing of the ice, often inside the right circle.
Catch & Release - 6 Goals
Eichel's fourth most common goal is a catch and release. This goal is similar to the one-timer in that it is most often a quick shot on net off of a pass, except on the catch and release he holds the puck for a half second to load up his shot and pick an open area of the net. Like a lot of goals in the NHL he takes advantage of a goaltender in motion and picks a vulnerable spot as the goalie attempts to square up.
One-Touch - 4 Goals
This was one of the more difficult categories for me to put together so I'm prepared for some criticism on this one. In the video below there are 2 clear cut no question one-touch goals where a pass comes across and Eichel directs the puck into the open net. It's a high skill goal involving speed, timing, and a soft touch.
But then there is the Ottawa goal where he is basically just cleaning up the garbage at the side of the net after a puck squeaked loose. I decided to call this a one touch because it's basically a tap-in to an open net off a moving puck.
The most difficult goal to categorize was the Toronto goal. It's sort of a one-timer, it's sort of a catch & release, but I didn't feel it really fell into those categories properly so I chose to put it in the one-touch category. As I mentioned before this is a subjective exercise, so I understand if you see it different, but even if you move these goals to other categories it doesn't really mess with the overall observation.
Empty Net - 4 Goals
There isn't much to say about his empty net goals except for the New Jersey one where he outworks everyone to maintain control of the puck before finally getting it on net. It's one of the more impressive empty net goals I've ever seen. The Columbus empty net was sneaky impressive because of the quick thinking he does to bounce the puck off the boards around the defender leading to the open shot down the ice.
Breakaway - 3 Goals
Jack Eichel has only scored 3 goals on a breakaway but 2 of them have been scored on an identical move. He comes in from the right side and glides over to the left forcing the goaltender to move laterally allowing Eichel to slide the puck through the five hole. The goal against Carolina is one of my favorite moments from Jack Eichel.
Messy - 2 Goals
There have been two goals from Jack Eichel that can be best described as messy. The first is against the Rangers where he tries to pass the puck to Evander Kane but it deflects off of Zuccarello and into the net. The second goal Jack just turns at the point and slides the puck toward the net where Budaj somehow forgets to get all the way across to the post and lets the puck get by.
Wrap Around - 1 Goal
And Finally, one of Eichel's most impressive goals was a wrap around he scored against Ottawa in his first season. It's a show of his strength, control, and reach that few players posses. It's best to just watch the clip than for me to attempt to properly describe it.
The hockey world missed out on what could've been an incredible year from Jack Eichel in 2016/2017 due to his 21 game absence at the start of the season. Despite the setback Eichel came back and showed he can and will be an offensive force in this league as demonstrated by the clips above.
Here's to hoping we get to see a healthy Jack Eichel for 82 games in 2017/2018.