BUFFALO – Expect a decision on rookie Sam Reinhart’s future soon, possibly as soon as Friday. The Sabres center will play his ninth game tonight. His contract kicks in if he makes a 10th appearance.
Sabres coach Ted Nolan and general manager Tim Murray discussed the 18-year-old’s future this morning and plan to talk again following tonight’s contest against the Boston Bruins.
“I’m quite sure we batted around every idea there was for the situation,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.
So far, Reinhart has zero goals, one point, two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating. The No. 2 pick in June has averaged 10 minutes, 41 seconds. He will pivot the fourth line tonight between Nick Deslauriers and Cody Hodgson.
Nolan wouldn’t say when the 2-8 Sabres will make a decision. He’s glad one’s coming, though.
“I’m quite sure Sam’s sitting down every night (thinking), ‘Am I going to stay the whole year. Is it game-to-game?’” Nolan said. “The one thing I’ve tried to instill in this group is it is day-to-day with all of us.”
Reinhart said he hasn’t been worrying about his future.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing to get into the guessing game,” he said.
Nolan, a former junior coach, knows going back to the Western Hockey League could help Reinhart.
“I’ve never seen too many players ruined by sending them back,” Nolan said.
In lineup news, Nolan said the Sabres will change one defenseman tonight. He wouldn’t say who’s coming in or out.
Update: Tyson Strachan will replace the struggling Andrej Meszaros.
Meanwhile, Hodgson, who’s in Nolan’s doghouse, could be on thin ice. Nolan said Wednesday the winger was closed to getting scratched.
“We had a good meeting with him,” Nolan said. “We showed some video. We ran through some things to try to get Cody being better, as all of our players. We had a lot of one-on-one chats with a lot of guys.”
Fresh off Tuesday’s 4-0 shellacking, the Sabres get to play a struggling Bruins team missing stud defenseman Zdeno Chara.
“It gives some of our players a little bit better opportunity when he’s not out there,” Nolan said.
Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth will start. The Bruins will start Niklas Svedberg, who blanked the Sabres here Oct. 18.