BUFFALO – In his fourth NHL appearance, top prospect Sam Reinhart skated only six minutes, 39 seconds on the fourth line between Nick Deslauriers and Cody McCormick in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout win against Carolina on Tuesday.
Why did Sabres coach Ted Nolan slash the 18-year-old’s minutes?
For three regular-season games and the entire preseason, Nolan threw Reinhart “right into the fire” to see how he would react. So the slick center, the No. 2 pick in June, played about 11-15 minutes on a scoring line.
Now, the Sabres are “taking a different approach, cutting back on the minutes, letting him watch game action more so than throwing him right into the fire,” Nolan said.
“I thought last game he was almost chomping on the bit to get out there more versus playing more and the game being a little bit too fast,” Nolan said. “One thing about Sam, his hockey intelligence and his brain for the game is NHL-caliber. We just got to get everything else matched up to it.”
Reinhart has zero points, two shots and a minus-1 rating this season. The Sabres can play him five more games before his contract kicks in.