Our annual Top 25 Under 25 series serves to find the best young players in the Buffalo Sabres organization, be it NHL, AHL, European or junior leagues. We voted on everyone from Asplund to Willman, and the best 25 players get profiled throughout the month of September. Today's subject: Samson Reinhart.
Sam Reinhart, C/RW
Age: 20 Height: 6’1’’ Weight: 189 lb
Samson Reinhart is almost always mentioned third in the Sabres future trio, behind Jack Eichel (no spoilers on where he falls on this list) and Rasmus Ristolainen, but he might be the player I’m personally most excited about this year.
When he was drafted #2 overall in 2014, Reinhart’s talent was never in question. The thing that prevented him from jumping straight to the NHL was his strength and weight, both of which needed significant improvement, as was made obvious during his nine-game tryout that season. Last summer, Reinhart made those improvements and looked like a completely different player en route to becoming the Sabres second-leading goal scorer with 23 tallies.
He was a revelation on the ice with his vision, poise, and hockey IQ, and now he had the strength to stand up to NHL competition. So what did he do this summer? He doubled down, according to The Buffalo News.
The Buffalo forward put in extra work during the summer of 2015 with the goal of making the Sabres, and he skated on opening night. Then, nearly every day after practice, he spent additional time honing his skills and accepting advice. He grew into a 23-goal scorer.
After seeing hard work equal success, Reinhart doubled down and did even more this summer. He and the Sabres, who opened training camp Friday, hope the trend of positive results continues.
Obviously, he won’t make quite the jump he did last summer, but if you told me I’d be getting a better version of a player who was a bona fide top-3 forward last season at age 20? Giddy up.
The going money this fall is on Reinhart playing alongside Jack Eichel and Evander Kane, a line which should have Sabres fans salivating at their combination of speed and skill. That’s a line that could realistically crack 80 goals, and they would likely function as the team’s second unit behind Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo and Tyler Ennis.
With the chemistry that Eichel and Reinhart showed toward the end of last year, and with even more offseason improvements this summer, the sky’s the limit for the team’s best two young players and even best-er roomies.