Ink has officially been put to paper, and it's the start of a new era in Florida.
Forward Sam Reinhart has officially agreed to a three-year contract with the Florida Panthers after having been acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in a July 24 trade that saw goaltending prospect Devon Levi and a 2022 first-round pick head back to Buffalo:
Reinhart was selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2014 NHL Draft, where he would spend the first seven years of his NHL career.
"Sam has established himself as one of the best playmaking scorers in the league, and we are thrilled to be able to add him to our Panthers lineup," Panthers general manager Bill Zito said after his acquisition became official. "His competitiveness and hunger to succeed will fit seamlessly with the culture we are building here in South Florida."
Reinhart led a poor Sabres team in scoring during the shortened 2020-21 NHL season, scoring 25 goals with 15 assists for 40 points in 54 games. In 454 career NHL contests, Reinhart has potted 134 goals with 161 assists. He's yet to appear in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
To join a Panthers team on the rise is an exciting prospect for Reinhart, and he said as much upon his acquisition.
“It’s very exciting to say the least,” Reinhart said after the trade. “I have been fortunate to play with a number of guys already on the roster. I have been in contact with a bunch of guys already. … I am absolutely thrilled and motivated to come to a group that is hungry and ready to take the next step.
“They have, in my mind, the most motivated player coming in … I want to win some meaningful games.”
For Zito, a player of Reinhart's caliber had been on his radar for some time, and he'd been checking in with Sabres GM Kevyn Adams about a potential deal.
”I had checked in with Kevyn a few times,’’ Zito said. “Sam gives us a lot of versatility, he can add playmaking and scoring. He can play up-and-down the lineup, in the middle or on the wing, power play. Anywhere, anytime. We’re excited to have him.’’