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Reinhart traded to Panthers by Sabres

Buffalo receives goalie prospect Levi, first-round pick for forward

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Reinhart traded to Panthers

Sabres trade Sam Reinhart to Panthers

The Buffalo Sabres trade Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers for Devon Levi and a 2022 first-round draft pick

  • 01:59 •

Sam Reinhart was traded to the Florida Panthers by the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday for goalie prospect Devon Levi and a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

"It's very exciting, to say the least," Reinhart said. "I've actually been fortunate enough to play with guys already on the roster. I've been in contact with a bunch of guys already, coaches, I'm absolutely thrilled and motivated to come to a group that's hungry, trying to make it to the next step. They have, in my mind, the most motivated player coming into an organization like that that's trying to make that next step and win some meaningful games.

"I'm thrilled about having that opportunity with a group that is expecting to win on any given night. I'm very happy to be able to showcase what I can do in some meaningful games and contribute in any way that I can."

 

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The 25-year-old forward led the Sabres in goals (25) and points (40) in 54 games this season. He can become a restricted free agent July 28.

"Nothing's finalized," Reinhart said of his contract. "That's all going to get announced and worked on in due time. I just feel comfortable that we're both excited about the future, and I don't see any issues moving forward."

Buffalo general manager Kevyn Adams said the draft pick is top 10 protected in the 2022 Draft and would be unprotected in the 2023 NHL Draft.

"I'm a big believer in Sam Reinhart as a player and a person. I think he's an excellent hockey player, but the fact of the matter is, he wasn't going to be here past this year," Adams said. "He was entering into [a free agent] situation. As we're building this out, you look at these things and you're projecting where are we going to be in a year, two, three years, and you have to make hard decisions. That's where we were, obviously, with the Sam decision."

Selected by Buffalo with the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Reinhart has scored 295 points (134 goals, 161 assists) in 454 NHL games. The Sabres failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his seven NHL seasons.

"It was a tough spot to be in," Reinhart said. "For me, I feel I've been there a long time. I've truly given it everything I could have. For whatever reason, my contract situation has led to this point. I'd always been prepared to sign long term, but the reality of the situation kind of led to this, where there were some decisions that had to be made. So it was a tough spot to be in for a city that has given me so much over six, seven, however many years it has been. I truly feel like I had been committed and done everything that was asked, and really unfortunate that it didn't work out the way anyone wanted or envisioned, but really looking forward to a fresh start down in Florida."

Panthers GM Bill Zito said Reinhart will fit in nicely.

"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," Zito said. "His competitiveness and hunger to succeed will fit seamlessly with the culture we are building here in South Florida."

Levi, chosen by Florida in the seventh round (No. 212) of the 2020 NHL Draft, was voted the best goalie at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, when the 19-year-old led goalies with a 0.75 goals-against average and .964 save percentage in seven games to help Canada place second.

Levi is entering his sophomore year at Northeastern University. He did not play for the school as a freshman after fracturing a rib during the WJC.

"I can tell you the feedback we've always heard on the player is a very high-end character player," Sabres director of amateur scouting Jerry Forton said. "He's got quite a reputation in the Montreal area with his skates and workouts with all the pro players in Montreal. I've heard that from numerous NHL players over the years, how impressed they are with the kid's character, compete, professionalism. So that all factored into it as well."

NHL.com independent correspondent Heather Engel contributed to this report

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