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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #4, Sam Reinhart

Even though he remains unsigned, Reinhart is a big part of the Sabres future

NHL: New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. six writers and 718 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 1, 2018 in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.

We’re getting into the top players in the organization and the core players for the Sabres moving forward in our top 25 under 25 rankings. Yesterday was a key defenseman in Rasmus Ristolainen and today we spotlight #4, Sam Reinhart.

The 2014 second overall pick has progressed in his production in each of this three NHL seasons, including a career-high 25 goals and 50 points in 2017-18. Reinhart has worked out a spot in the Sabres top-six and is a key piece with the man advantage. He’s going to be an important part of the team moving into the future with the new core that general manager Jason Botterill has put together.

We all know that the 22-year-old isn’t the fastest skater on the ice, but he makes up for that with his hockey IQ. Reinhart can process the game quickly which allows him to make up for what he lacks in foot speed.

The other point of contention with the Vancouver native is his consistency over the last few years. Last season, in particular, Reinhart was a far different player in the second half of the year than he was in the first. Some struggles in the first half could be written up to struggling to play the center position, which he hasn’t played in the NHL. Having said that, it doesn’t completely excuse the poor start to the season.

When the calendar flipped to 2018, Reinhart turned into a different player. He ended the season playing at a 70 point pace. He’s probably not a consistent 70 point player, but also isn’t a 25 point player like he played in the first half.

That brings us to our present situation with Reinhart. He remains a restricted free agent as the Sabres and his agency work towards getting a new deal done. Training camp is roughly a month away, so we’ll see if the two sides can come to an agreement by the time camp opens in mid-September.

#25 Sean Malone

#24 Brandon Hickey

#23 Marcus Davidsson

#22 Danny O’Regan

#21 Will Borgen

#20 Mattias Samuelsson

#19 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

#18 Justin Bailey

#17 C.J. Smith

#16 Nick Baptiste

#15 Zemgus Girgensons

#14 Lawrence Pilut

#13 Victor Olofsson

#12 Rasmus Asplund

#11 Alex Nylander

#10 Tage Thompson

#9 Jake McCabe

#8 Evan Rodrigues

#7 Brendan Guhle

#6 Linus Ullmark

#5 Rasmus Ristolainen