The Florida Panthers signed Sam Reinhart, their restricted free agent winger, to a three-year contract worth $19.5 million, or $6.5 million annually. This contract carries him through the 2023-24 season.
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Sam Reinhart is officially a Florida Panther, signing a three-year contract!!
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) August 11, 2021
Sam Reinhart Signed by Florida Panthers to Three-Year Deal
Over his seven-year NHL career, Reinhart only suited up thus far for the Buffalo Sabres. He currently sits at 134 goals and 161 assists, for 295 career points in 454 career games. Reinhart entered the league in the 2014 NHL draft, taken in the first round, second overall. His new teammate Aaron Ekblad went first overall, one spot ahead of Reinhart, in that same year’s draft. Oh, and Samuel Bennett went fourth overall; the Panthers now have all three of them on their roster. (And, for honourable mention: Brandon Montour, Juho Lammikko, and Gustav Forsling are all also roster players for Florida from the 2014 entry draft. The Panthers only drafted Ekblad and Lammikko out of that group of six players, too.)
Last season Reinhart scored 25 goals and 15 assists for 40 points in 54 contests. On a cellar-dwelling Sabres roster, Reinhart led the team in goals and points by a large margin. He also added just 10 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 55.5 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 13.9. Again, those numbers are astounding considering how consistently the Sabres lost hockey games, and bode well for his future in Florida.
What This Means for the Future
Florida acquired Reinhart via trade with the Sabres back in late July. Going back to Buffalo in exchange for Reinhart, Florida exchanged their 2022 first-round pick and goaltending prospect Devon Levi. The Panthers evolved into a team with high expectations after last season, so the draft pick became expendable. Additionally, they boast a plethora of young goalies in the system (namely Spencer Knight, but also Sam Montembeault). Levi became expendable, and Reinhart arrives in Florida with high expectations of his own.
After acquiring the RFA forward, getting Sam Reinhart signed became an instant priority. Only Ekblad and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky earn a higher salary with the Panthers, who now sit a tight-$1.5 million under the salary cap. With Aleksander Barkov on a contract set to expire next summer, along with a large chunk of the team’s depth forwards, money may become a pain point moving forward.
Without a doubt, though, Reinhart instantly becomes a core piece for this franchise. Barkov, Reinhart, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, and Anthony Duclair make for quite a formidable top six that Florida will want to keep around for the foreseeable future. Don’t be surprised when Reinhart posts career highs in all scoring categories next season with the supporting cast he’ll have surrounding him.
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 08: Buffalo Sabres Center Sam Reinhart (23) skates with the puck during the first period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres on May 8, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)