Is Sam Reinhart living up to his draft status?

The 2014 second overall pick didn't play as well in his second season

Paul Hamilton
April 24, 2017 - 2:19 pm
Categories: 

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - I have had many fans talk to me about how disappointing Sam Reinhart is, considering he was picked second overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Over an 82-game span, Reinhart has averaged 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 points. Since the 1997 draft, only one forward taken second overall is worse. In 1998, Nashville selected former Buffalo Sabres forward David Legwand. He averaged 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points over an 82-game span.

In his rookie season, Reinhart showed that he was the smart player that general manager Tim Murray said he was when Buffalo drafted him. The rookie was a regular at the Ryan O’Reilly practices, which often lasted 45 minutes after most of the players left the ice.

His work paid off as he was Buffalo’s best player in front of the net with screens and tips. In his second season, Reinhart participated in very few of the extra workouts and his attitude changed too. He acted like he had made it and became pretty arrogant in his demeanor and in interviews. Only after he had to sit out a game for being late to a team meeting did he become a regular after practice again. He had three tipped goals all season, and wasn't a force in front of the net until late in the season.

The lack of extra work showed as his goals went from 23 to 17. He did increase his assist total from 19 to 30, and overall had five extra points.

The new Sabres coach will have to really make sure he has Reinhart on board if he remains on the team.

Here are the average numbers on all the forwards taken second overall since the 1997 NHL Draft over an 82-game span.


2004 - Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguins - 38 goals, 59 assists, 97 points

2001 - Jason Spezza - Ottawa Senators - 28 goals, 49 assists, 77 points

2000 - Dany Heatley - Atlanta Thrashers - 35 goals, 40 assists, 75 points

2016 - Patrik Laine - Winnipeg Jets - 40 goals, 31 assists, 71 points

2010 - Tyler Seguin - Boston Bruins - 31 goals, 38 assists, 69 points

2003 - Eric Staal - Carolina Hurricanes - 29 goals, 40 assists, 69 points

2015 - Jack Eichel - Buffalo Sabres - 28 goals, 38 assists, 66 points

1999 - Daniel Sedin - Vancouver Canucks - 25 goals, 41 assists, 66 points

1997 - Patrick Marleau - San Jose Sharks - 28 goals, 31 assists, 59 points

2005 - Bobby Ryan - Anaheim Ducks - 27 goals, 31 assists, 58 points

2013 - Aleksander Barkov - Florida Panthers - 24 goals, 32 assists, 56 points

2011 - Gabriel Landeskog - Colorado Avalanche - 23 goals, 31 assists, 54 points

2007 - James van Riemsdyk - Philadelphia Flyers - 26 goals, 27 assists, 53 points

2006 - Jordan Staal - Pittsburgh Penguins - 20 goals, 27 assists, 47 points

2014 - Sam Reinhart - Buffalo Sabres - 20 goals, 25 assists, 45 points

1998 - David Legwand - Nashville Predators - 16 goals, 28 assists, 44 points
 

The other second overall picks during that time were goalie Kari Lehtonen (Atlanta - 2002), and defensemen Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings - 2008), Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning - 2009), and Ryan Murray (Columbus Blue Jackets - 2012).  

I think Reinhart will grow into a pretty decent player. My guess is he'll learn from the 2016-17 season and grow from it.

Now if you think by saying that I think he's untouchable, you'd be wrong. If Reinhart could land a young, top-three defenseman, I would trade him in a second. It's the old cliche that to get something good, you have to give up something good in return.

Comments ()