BUFFALO, NY. (WIVB) – Sabres forward Sam Reinhart is still waiting for that long-term deal after signing a one-year contract worth $5.2 as he avoided arbitration. But given the state of the NHL right now with so many things up in the air, Reinhart says he doesn’t mind this short-term deal.
“I think every player in the times right now would be open to a long-term deal. Unfortunately that’s not always the case and that’s not always available so I’m certainly comfortable playing on short-term deals like this, I always have so this is just another one,” Reinhart said.
Some players might look at it as they have to prove themselves when signing a short-term deal in order to lock up that long-term stability and show why they deserve that.
“I think I’ve done a lot that I want to be recognized for and be here long term for sure, there’s no question about it. Do I think I’ve proven everything? Absolutely not. I don’t think anyone can say that with the lack of success we’ve really had as a team,” Reinhart explained.
The former second overall pick is coming off a season where he scored 22 goals and 50 points in 69 games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season, his ice time also increased averaging 20:38, a new career-high which is something Reinhart attributes his recent success to.
“I think just with the ice time increasing I think I felt fresher that much more each game. With those added minutes I think it was an attribute to the work I’ve been putting in in the offseason. I’m just that much older and stronger and was able to stay fresh on a consistent level. I was really happy with that,” Reinhart said.
As of right now, there is no timetable for when this upcoming season will start only that commissioner, Gary Bettman said they are targeting January 1st 2021 as the start date.
In the meantime, players are on standby as they wait for word from the league and their teams as to when they can get back together.
“Yeah it’s bizarre, it’s very odd being in Vancouver here seeing the leaves change, I don’t think I’ve seen that since I was 15 years old so it’s a little bit of a mental grind to stay in it. Luckily I enjoy the working out process, the training process, but that’s usually a couple months. It’s not usually a full year of doing that unfortunately,” Reinhart said.
“I think everyone’s kind of looking forward to the conversations in the next few weeks of trying to get this back on track and trying to get back in our cities and get on the ice with our teammates again.”
When they do get back on the ice, there will be some new faces that general manager Kevyn Adams added as he signed Taylor Hall and traded for Eric Staal.
Speaking of changes and Adams, this is the first time we’ve talked to players since he was named GM after the Sabres fired Jason Botterill.
“Certainly a shock back in June when everything started to change like that,” Reinhart admitted.
Now this new regime with Adams along with Ralph Krueger looking to finish his first full season as head coach, look to end the NHL’s longest active playoff drought. But it’s also on the veteran players to lead the charge.
“I think it’s important to use those experiences whether they’re positive or negative ones. As you get older and you’ve played more years you try and use those to your advantage. But with that being said there’s a lot of new faces in the locker room and we know first hand that every year is different,” Reinhart said.
“Every year we’ve been in different positions at certain parts of the year and it’s just a matter of putting that together as is us using that frustration and channeling that. It’s using the new guys as well that have had success and had experiences in the league as well.”