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Friday, June 26, 2015

BUFFALO — The Buffalo Sabres acquired three forwards today during the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, beginning with the selection of center Jack Eichel (Boston University – Hockey East) with the second overall pick of the draft. Immediately after the selection, the Sabres acquired forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and JT Compher and the 31st pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Eichel (6’2”, 196 lbs., 10/28/1996) joined Paul Kariya as the second freshman ever to earn the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player after leading all NCAA players with 71 points (26+45) in 40 games during his first collegiate season at Boston University in 2014-15.

A native of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Eichel led Boston University to a conference championship as the Most Valuable Player of the Hockey East Tournament before adding five points (2+3) in four NCAA Tournament games for the Terriers. In addition to the Hobey Baker Award, Eichel racked up several other major accolades for his standout freshman season, including NCAA Rookie of the Year, first-team All-American and Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, and was a unanimous selection as a first-team Hockey East All-Star.

Eichel also stood out on the international stage last season, beginning with a 2015 World Junior Championship in which he captained the United States squad while serving as the team’s top center. After finishing his season at Boston University, Eichel joined Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, where he became the first draft-eligible player to play for the United States in the tournament since Phil Housley did so in 1982. Eichel recorded seven points (2+5) in 10 World Championship games to help Team USA to a bronze medal.

O’Reilly (6’0”, 210 lbs., 2/7/1991) joins the Sabres after tallying 55 points (17+38) in 82 games last season as a member of the Avalanche. The Clinton, Ontario native led all Colorado skaters in faceoff percentage (53.3%) and takeaways (55), and led all Colorado forwards with 19:43 of ice time per game in 2014-15.

After being selected in the second round (33rd overall) by the Avalanche in 2009, O’Reilly has appeared in six NHL seasons with Colorado, registering at least 50 points in each of the last three full seasons. In 427 NHL regular-season games, he has recorded 246 points (90+156) and 64 penalty minutes, adding seven points (3+4) in 13 postseason games.

A seven-year NHL veteran, McGinn (6’1”, 210 lbs., 8/5/1988) has appeared in 366 games with the Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks, recording 128 points (69+59) and 172 penalty minutes. Though he spent most of the 2014-15 season on injured reserve, McGinn registered career-best totals in assists (19) and points (38) in 79 games in 2013-14.

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