2015 Top 25 Under 25: #5 Sam Reinhart
Reinhart could start the season in either Buffalo or Rochester this season, and still has an enormously high ceiling.
Weight: 185 lbs.
2014-15 team: Sabres/Kootenay Ice/Rochester
Acquired: Drafted in the first round (2nd overall) in the 2014 draft
Last year's Ranking: 4
Here's where the controversy begins. We have an amazing group of five players left to rank. You probably could rank 2-5 in any order and it make some sense. Sam Reinhart is likely the biggest question mark, and that's all relative. All five of these players will likely be great, including Reinhart.
Reinhart made the Sabres out of camp after being selected second overall in last year's draft. His stint in Buffalo wasn't too special, only getting one assist in nine games. The Sabres opted to send him back to juniors in order to save a year on his entry level contract. The Ice were happy to have their captain back, but his year wasn't as successful as it had been the season prior. He still finished third on the team in scoring despite missing much of the season with the Sabres or at the World Juniors.
Speaking of the World Juniors, Reinhart was a piece of the dynamic Domi-Reinhart-Duclair line that dominated the tournament. He was one of the top scorers in the tournament, scoring five goals and six assists in seven games. He was named a First-Team All-Star, the third year in a row a Sabre recieved the honor (Jake McCabe did it in 2013, while Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov both did in 2014).
When the Ice season game to an end he played three games in Rochester and looked very impressive, including one crazy assist (go to 2:05 in this video). His time there was a good sign for his future at the professional level.
When you watch Reinhart it is always apparent how smart he is. He seems to always know where the puck is going, making him great both with and without possession. For him it was about bulking up a bit and improving his skating. Reinhart said earlier this week that he's already seen results from his power skating drills this summer.
In a way Reinhart has now gotten a bit overshadowed by Jack Eichel. It's good to remember he's ranked as the third best prospect in hockey by Corey Pronman for a reason. The two have the potential to be one of the best young duos in the entire league for the next few years.