TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN – The beginning of the 2014 NHL Prospect Tournament marks another stop in Sam Reinhart’s goal to make the Buffalo Sabres roster in October. Reinhart, 18, was the second-overall selection in this year’s draft and the cerebral center knows he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be in the opening night lineup.
Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy is giving him a great opportunity to shine right away and hopes Reinhart’s line can find some chemistry quickly in the early goings of the tournament.
In the Sabres' morning skate on Friday prior to their first game of the tournament, Reinhart was flanked by left wing Jordan Samuels-Thomas and right wing Joel Armia. Samuels-Thomas, at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, should be able to create space for his linemates to generate offensive opportunities. A big, talented goal scorer like Armia – Buffalo’s first-round pick in 2011 (16th overall) – who is also 6-foot-3, could certainly benefit from playing with a creative center.
Cassidy was quick to point out after the skate that Buffalo’s game against the Hurricanes on Friday at 4 p.m. is only one game of many that Reinhart will have a chance to prove himself in.
“We obviously expect a lot of him from both ends of the rink, but it’s not going to make or break his career tonight,” Cassidy said.
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There will also be some learning on both sides as the coaching staff tries to get a gauge on how to best handle each player on the roster. In that instance, Reinhart’s situation isn’t much different from any of the other prospects entering their first Traverse City tournament with the Sabres.
“We have to get a feel for how Sam ticks a little bit, what gets him going from a coaching, teaching perpective for our staff – the way we need to communicate with him and finding the right players to put around him,” he said.
The afternoon contest can be heard on ESPN 1520 in Buffalo with Paul Hamilton and Brian Duff on the call. For postgame reaction and analysis, be sure to keep your browser window open to Sabres.com
71 Jordan Samuels-Thomas – 23 Sam Reinhart – 33 Joel Armia
48 William Carrier – 43 Daniel Catenacci – 15 Justin Bailey
53 Brendan Lemieux – 46 Eric Cornel – 74 Vaclav Karabacek
70 Michael Joly – 42 Justin Kea – 52 Jack Rodewald
29 Jake McCabe – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
51 Nikita Zadorov – 83 Jared Walsh
67 Brady Austin – 54 Brycen Martin
35 Andrey Makarov
60 Francois Brassard