DOB: November 6,1995 (age, 22)
Draft: 2014, 2nd overall
How acquired: Drafted by Buffalo
Last contract signed: 2015--3yr. ELC; $925k/yr. + $2.65M yearly performance bonus
Final year of contract: 2017-18
2017-18- Stats: 82 games played | 25 goals | 25 assists | 50 points | -24 | 17:06 ATOI
Buffalo Career Stats: 249 games | 65 goals | 75 assists | 140 points | -44
What we wrote preseason:
"Third-year forward Sam Reinhart has spent the majority of his first two NHL seasons on Jack Eichel's wing and unless new coach Phil Housley has designs on moving Reinhart to third-line center, having Jack and Sam on the same line seems like a good way to at least start the season.
"Reinhart's play is very subtle, it may not look like he's been doing much in-game, but at the end you'll see him on the stat-sheet and wonder where those points came from.
"[His] year-over-year stats say that his 47 points are five better than the previous season, yet nearly every one who watched him on a regular basis would say that he didn't have as good a season in 2016-17. A big part of that comes from his goal total which went down from 23 in his rookie year to 17 last season.
"It's hard to believe Reinhart has hit his ceiling this early in his career and something tells me that it may be quite a few years down the road until he does. He seems to be the type of player that will be getting a feel for everything and shift through every gear in his career."
What we wrote mid-season:
"Is catching a lot of flack in Sabreland, as he should. Reinhart has been inconsistent at best, invisible at worst and at times has looked disinterested on the ice. Former head coach Dan Bylsma babied Reinhart as a rookie and put him in favorable positions to score. The result was a 23-goal rookie season for the kid. This year he's had to work harder and it hasn't transferred well as he may only barely eclipse 23 points if he continues to play the way he has."
Impressions on his play this year:
A tale of two seasons. When I wrote that he "may only barely eclipse 23 points," Reinhart had played in 38 games with only five goals and six assists to show for it. The Sabres were in a tail-spin and it looked as if Reinhart would crash hard along with the team.
But he turned it around beginning in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, against the NY Rangers at Citi Field. "Throughout the season you kind look for a spark," Reinhart told the press in hindsight weeks later, "and that’s probably the spot where you can look back and see things started turning around because I did feel good." The 22 yr. old Reinhart had goals in back-to-back games beginning with the Winter Classic, endured a four game point-drought, then proceeded to finish the season on a tear with 18 goals and 19 assists in his final 38 games and looked like a second-overall pick in the process.
During locker cleanout when asked how it turned around, Reinhart told the gathered media, "The biggest thing for me was, I wasn't happy with the way anything was going and I just said to myself, 'Screw it, I'm playing my game.' I think it's more important for me to play my game, it's more beneficial to me and the team. I think it was important for me to get back to what I do best."
Questions moving forward:
To whom or what was he saying "screw it" to and will he be able to incorporate "his game" into Housley's system next season, or vise versa? Did Reinhart pas through a threshold last season, or was he playing for a contract? What will be the price (and the term) of his next deal? How long will it take them to hammer out a new deal? Can he eclipse last season's career high's in goals and points? What will his off-season be like when it comes to on-ice and off-ice training?
Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com.
Reinhart's locker cleanout interview via sabres.com: