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Looking to make the leap: Sam Reinhart

Aug 28, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT

Prior to ever being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, Sam Reinhart pointed to the number of young players getting an opportunity around the league as a positive sign for himself moving forward.

At just 18, Reinhart is hardly out of place on a young Sabres’ team, which boasts four centers 24 or younger.

“I think if you look at a lot of young guys coming into the league, you look at the opportunity that they get, that’s the big thing, you have to be ready for that,” Reinhart said. “That’s probably the best thing that I’m looking forward to, is an opportunity to play and prove myself.”

Buffalo used the second overall pick to select Reinhart in June and the hope is the Vancouver native can make the leap to the NHL just three months later.

“He’s a high-end talent and also extremely intelligent,” Sabres’ general manager Tim Murray told “That’s what you see shift to shift, the intelligence. Some shifts it doesn’t work with the puck, other shifts it does. But you see he’s always on the right side of the puck. He’s always around the puck.

“That’s why he has the puck so much; not because of his high-end skill, but he knows where to go to get the puck, he knows where to go when he has the puck. He’s an extremely intelligent hockey player.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound center spent the last three seasons with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League where he scored 99 goals and 252 points in 199 games. His 105 points during the 2013-14 season saw Reinhart finish fourth in points in the WHL.

But it wasn’t until an invite to Team Canada’s senior men’s world championship camp that Reinhart really felt he could handle the NHL game.

“Was pretty amazing to see just how I handled practice one compared to practice three and really picked up the pace. I felt comfortable and pretty quick out there,” said Reinhart. “Really turned out to be a positive experience and it’s really paying off right now.”

In addition to his own experience, Sam has been watching older brothers Max (Calgary Flames) and Griffin (New York Islanders) the last several years as they attempt to follow their father Paul’s footsteps to the NHL.

“Most of it just watching how they handled it from a distance to be honest,” Sam Reinhart said. “Its not as much advice them giving me it’s just seeing how they handle it and the sorts of things they do.”

As far as his biggest asset is concerned, Reinhart says “I think I use my hockey sense to my advantage. That’s a good aspect to have at this age, everything else you can work on. I’ve been motivated and am motivated to keep working on that and be the best I can.”

For a Sabres’ team with a young nucleolus, Reinhart should fit in nicely.

Related: Looking to make the leap: Griffin Reinhart

  1. travishenryskid - Aug 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Ristolainin, Pysyk, McCabe, Zadorov, Grigorenko, Armia, Larsson could also be listed in this category. Best part about being a sabres fan right now is tracking all of the prospectsddevelopment.

    • cantescapekarma - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      I agree. I said a while back that it would be interesting to see the “Looking To Make The Leap” article on Buffalo Sabres Day. There are just so many good young players to choose from…

  2. stevepopo - Aug 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    As a Sabres fan, I’m eager to see him play. But I’d love to see the Chicago model employed here (Toews went back to juniors, then came out the next year with Kane drafted).

    So give him 9 games in Buffalo, then another year in Junior, then bring him up next year with whomever we get in 2015 draft (McDavid?). Bring both into the league at the same time, so they feel like equals.

  3. shanekelleytx - Aug 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    The Sabres are loaded with potential, it’ll be cool to see how far all those young guys go and if they can lift the team off the bottom.

  4. cantescapekarma - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    I can’t wait to see him play for the Sabres either, but I also hope that they do not rush his development. I don’t think Tim Murray and Ted Nolan will rush him though – if he’s ready he’ll play. If not he will be back in juniors. From what I’ve seen, this kid looks special. He actually reminds me of Wayne Gretzky a bit – he knows where the puck is going to be before it gets there and that is a very special quality. (Now I’m not saying he’s as good as the great one so don’t overreact lol).
    I am anxious to see if Grigorenko can make the leap this year too. He looked really good playing for Rochester at the end of last season. I have a feeling that he will be back in Rochester this coming season, but if he continues to develop and play like he did for Rochester last year, he could be something special in the coming years.
    I can’t get over how nice it is to have a GM that makes moves that actually make sense. DR definitely did some good things, but he also did many things that left you scratching your head and wondering “what the h*ll were they thinking?”. So far all of TM’s moves have made sense to me (and I like it! lol). I thought the Bills had also fixed that same problem, when Buddy Nix stepped down and Doug Whaley took over, but alas it was too good to be true as usual, because this QB situation makes zero sense (especially since going all in on this season by giving away next years #1 pick).

  5. djshnooks - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    He will be fine. There is no rushing him, he has nothing to prove in juniors anymore.

    Let him come up and skate on a line with Gionta and get used to the game.

    They will be ready to start competing come July 2015, they need him to be ready.

    Plus, McDavid and Reinhart wouldn’t be equals, as one would be 1C and the other would be 2C…the timetable is irrelevant.

    Also, don’t get too attached to all those prospects…some will be traded for others.

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