BUFFALO – Given the premium paid for scoring, the two-year, $7.3 million contract winger Sam Reinhart signed Wednesday, ending his short holdout, could be a bargain for the Sabres.
Reinhart’s torrid second half last season – following an awful start, he recorded 18 goals and 37 points in the final 38 contests – signaled he might be ready to crack the 30-goal or 70-point marks.
If Reinhart, 22, hits or even approaches those numbers, his $3.65 million cap hit would rank among the NHL’s best values. General manager Jason Botterill worked out a contract so team-friendly Reinhart’s cap hit ranks ninth on the Sabres, according to capfriendly.com.
Having served as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ cap specialist before joining the Sabres, Botterill understands the importance of locking up the young core and the difficult decisions that often accompany that.
That’s probably why Botterill wouldn’t budge from a bridge deal for Reinhart.
Yes, Reinhart has been productive in his short career, averaging 22 goals and 46 points in his three full NHL seasons. But the Sabres have center Jack Eichel’s eight-year, $80 million contract kicking in this season.
They also must think about new contracts soon for defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and center Casey Mittelstadt, two talented rookies playing on their entry-level deals.
Reinhart set career highs across the board last season, tying for the team lead with 25 goals and ranking third with 50 points in 82 games. Still, the Sabres were probably reluctant to award a long-term deal to someone who mustered only five goals and 11 points in his first 38 outings.
Remember, Tim Murray, not Botterill, drafted Reinhart second overall in 2014.
Reinhart was the team’s last unsigned restricted free agent and missed the first five days of training camp.
He will receive $3.55 million this season and $3.75 million in 2019-20, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. He will be an RFA again after the contract expires.
Reinhart has compiled 65 goals and 140 points in 249 NHL games. He will likely practice with his teammates today. The Sabres had Wednesday off.
Mark Adams, a defenseman the Sabres drafted in the third round, 134th overall, in 2009, passed away Monday, according to the Providence Journal. He was 27.
Adams played on Providence College’s 2015 national championship team.