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Sabres sign Sam Reinhart to 2-year, $7.3 million contract

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Sabres sign Sam Reinhart to 2-year, $7.3 million contract

5:45 PM ET
  • ESPN.com news services

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The 

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 can finally prepare for the start of the season with their full complement of forwards after signing 

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 to a two-year, $7.3 million contract on Wednesday.

 

Reinhart was a restricted free agent, and the team's lone offseason holdout before reaching the deal after missing the first five days of training camp and two preseason games.

 

"I don't know if worried's the right word,'' he said after practicing for the first time Thursday, a day after flying in from Vancouver, British Columbia. "I think the best thing for the team and myself was to be here as soon as possible.''

 

The signing came during the Sabres' day off and after Reinhart's representatives were spotted attending Buffalo's 3-2 win over the 

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 on Tuesday night.

 

Reinhart has spent much of the past month in Buffalo working out, including taking part in informal skates with his teammates.

 

The delay in reaching a deal was partly a result of Reinhart's inconsistent production during his three-plus NHL seasons since the Sabres selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft.

 

Reinhart's inconsistencies were apparent last year, when he managed seven goals and six assists in his first 44 games. He closed the season by scoring 18 goals and 19 assists in his final 38 games and finished with a career-best 25 goals and 50 points.

 

Overall, the 22-year-old has 65 goals and 140 points in 249 career games.

 

"Whether it was a one-year or an eight-year, it's not changing my mentality,'' Reinhart said. "I know the player I can be.''

Reinhart can play both wing and center. He's projected to fill a role on one of Buffalo's top two lines on a roster that underwent a significant overhaul this past summer. The changes came after the Sabres finished last in the standings for the third time in five years.

 

The Sabres made trades to acquire forwards 

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 from Pittsburgh and 

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 from Carolina. They also dealt center 

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 to St. Louis in exchange for forwards 

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, who is entering his second NHL season, and veterans 

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 and 

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.

 

Despite the changes, general manager 

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 stressed Reinhart was expected to play a significant role on the team.

 

"He is part of the rebuild. That's the bottom line,'' Botterill said last week. "It's evident that he's worked very hard this summer.''

 

One option is having Reinhart continue playing alongside first-line center 

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, with rookie 

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 centering the second line.

 

The Sabres also haven't ruled out the possibility of Reinhart centering the second line.

 

The Sabres return to practice Thursday and play a preseason game at Toronto on Friday, before hosting the Maple Leafs the following night.

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Solid signing.
Reinhart was a 25-goal, 50 pt guy last season...and has had a slow, but steady progression in production the last three seasons.

 

With Buffalo's fortunes finally looking up, and with a slightly more experienced Jack Eichel to play alongside, plus two potentially very good offensive D-men in Risto and Dahlin, I think it is fair to say fans should look for at LEAST the 50 pts he gave last season..maybe more if things fall right with the team.

 

I still say the Sabres will struggle at times to find goals on a consistent basis, but if Reinhart progresses yet again, he could certainly do his part to alleviate that.

Oh, and the deal he got, albeit just for the two years, can be considered a value deal based on his past performance.

22 yrs old and should only get better.

 

No problem at all with this signing from a team and Sabre fan perspective.

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