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Sabres, Reinhart Make A Deal

Two-year bridge contract works for both sides

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Finally - with two preseason games under their belt - the Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Sam Reinhart. It’s a two-year bridge deal with an AAV of $3.65 million, which upon first glance, seems like a steal for the Sabres.

Reinhart’s new contract falls along the lines of some other comparable contracts that have been signed with restricted free agents across the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers signed Darnell Nurse to a bridge deal worth $3.2 million AAV, while the Winnipeg Jets penned a two-year deal with Josh Morrissey worth $3.15 million AAV.

However, while Reinhart’s new deal is similar to the aforementioned ones - slightly higher, in fact - it’s well below what was expected.

For Sabres fans who may look at this deal and try to project what it’ll mean in two years - don’t work too hard on that. The salary cap can be a completely different situation once Reinhart’s new contract is up, and who knows what he’ll do in the next two seasons? Obviously, the hope for the player is that he puts up big numbers and can cash in on that when the time comes, but that isn’t always the case.

(On a side note: in a Die By the Blade poll run earlier this summer, 81% of respondents said they hoped the Sabres would sign Reinhart to a long-term deal. Personally, at this point - I’m just glad he’s been signed at all.)

Last season, Reinhart started off the season slow as he was utilized at center, but saw a surge in the second half once he returned to wing. He registered a career-high 25 goals and totaled 50 points, including 39 in the second half of the season.

So for now, let’s just focus on the season at hand. With his new contract, Reinhart is no longer a holdout and can now join the team for practices and preseason games, and the Sabres can work on a long-term contract with him before the two years are up.