Buffalo Sabres trade candidate No. 2: Sam Reinhart
Like Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart doesn’t appear to be willing to go through another rebuild with the Sabres.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the pending restricted free agent likely holds some leverage over Buffalo considering he could consider signing an offer sheet. Unfortunately, there aren’t many teams willing to sign a player to an offer sheet whether that has to do with compensation or not but it’s clear Reinhart will likely have options.
He is coming off a one-year, $5.2 million deal where he led the Sabres with 25 goals and 40 points in 54 games this season. This is the fourth-straight season the 25-year-old has scored at least 20 goals in a season.
According to Paul Hamilton of WGR 550, Reinhart has a desire to be moved to the West Coast so that he can play closer to home. Whether or not he will get his wish remains to be seen but Buffalo should be trying to capitalize on Reinhart’s value while they can.
He will likely want at least five years on his next deal which could pay him in the $6 to 7 million range based on his production as a top line winger or a second-line center depending on who trades for him.
The real question is figuring out where the best for Reinhart would be in terms of getting the most in a potential trade. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in 31 Thoughts that more than one Western Canadian team would love to have Reinhart.
This would mean looking at the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers as potential landing spots. The Oilers should be interested if they want a capable winger to play in the top six if they can put together the right package and depending on their salary cap, Buffalo might have to take on a contract in return.
Vancouver have reportedly had interest in Reinhart from his draft year as Canucks GM Jim Benning wanted to trade up to draft him in 2014. Unfortunately, this is a team that has significant salary cap issues with Elias Petterson and Quinn Hughes but if Buffalo takes on the final year of Loui Eriksson deal they could get more assets in return.
Buffalo might look to get draft picks past the 2021 NHL Draft considering their is more value in the future drafts. They also can’t look past their need to improve their goaltending situation and ensure their young talent in Dylan Cozens, Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt aren’t just thrown to the wolves.