BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel is focused on taking on a larger leadership role, and not concerning himself with contract talks.
Eichel says both sides know where they stand in negotiations. He adds if a deal isn't reached in the coming weeks, he would have no problem playing out the final year of his rookie contract and waiting until next offseason to negotiate an extension.
A person with direct knowledge of negotiations told The Associated Press that negotiations haven't stopped since the two sides formally opened talks in June.
Eichel spoke on Tuesday after taking part in his first on-ice session with numerous Sabres teammates in Buffalo a little over a week before the team opens training camp.
Eichel says he's frustrated over how the Sabres under-achieved in missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season last year, and looking forward to a fresh start under new coach Phil Housley and new general manager Jason Botterill.