News | 6/27/2014 8:43:48 PM | Kevin Snow/Chris Ryndak (Sabres.com)
| Photo: Sam Reinhart (Getty Images)
ROUND 1 COVERAGE
The wait is finally over - the Buffalo Sabres selected forward Sam Reinhart with the second overall pick in the 2014 Entry Draft.
Reinhart led Kootenay with 105 points (36-69—105) in 60 games during the 2013-14 season, tying for fourth overall in the Western Hockey League with Leon Draisaitl (No. 4-ranked North American Skater) of the Prince Albert Raiders.
He also led his team with 23 points in 13 playoff games (6-17—23), advancing three rounds before Kootenay fell to the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Conference Championship.
AUDIO: Reinhart react to being drafted second overall by the Sabres
VIDEO: Exclusive 1-on-1 with Sam Reinhart
VIDEO: Reinhart addresses the media
FIRST ROUND ANALYSIS Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com
There is little flash to Reinhart's game, but the lack of sizzle is made up with consistent smarts, vision and character that puts the productive pivot among the elite forwards in the 2014 draft class. He can slow it down and speed it up, and his ability to see open passing lanes is a skill that cannot be taught. The Hockey News
On a disappointing Canadian WJC team, Reinhart was one of the best and more consistent forwards, behind Ottawa Curtis Lazar. “He’s so smart that it makes up for his weaknesses,” said one scout. “He takes away space and uses his angles. He’s a good enough skater, deadly on the power play and his linemates get five or six chances a game because of him.
REINHART: 'I'VE PICTURED MYSELF IN THIS UNIFORM FOR A VERY LONG TIME'
The Buffalo Sabres had their choice of forwards with the second-overall selection of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday. They went with center Sam Reinhart, the Western Hockey League's Player of the Year.
What does Reinhart think separated himself from the other top prospects?
“I think the biggest thing is I feel ready to play. It’s a young team. I’m very familiar with the organization and I’ve pictured myself in this uniform for a very long time,” Reinhart said. “I’m very excited and I’m very motivated to step into the League next year with a young team that’s developing very well and to make an impact.”
Reinhart said that Buffalo was one of his most challenging interviews and that they really pushed him with their questions.
“They did and I think that’s only positive for them to do that,” he said. “It gives you a lot of confidence in them and with what they can do in those sorts of interviews. I’m thrilled and happy and I’m very thankful that they selected me.”
After his junior season wrapped up, Reinhart joined Team Canada for their training camp in Switzerland as they prepared for the IIHF World Championship. He was able to meet Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers and get a first-hand look at the professional lifestyle.
He’s studied up on the Sabres organization over the past few months and know he’s going to have to work hard to make the team in the fall.
“It’s not going to be given to me right away,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to step in and make an impact and take advantage of every opportunity.”
MURRAY WASTED NO TIME IN MAKING FIRST ROUND PICK
Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray wasted no time making the second-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. He didn’t thank anyone or make a long speech. He announced the selection of center Sam Reinhart and stepped away from the podium.
VIDEO: Murray speaks with the media following the completion of the first round
“It was good. I liked it,” Reinhart said. “Didn’t stall at all. It shows the confidence he has in me and makes me feel better.”
Murray didn’t see any reason to take more time up on the stage.
“He was the first player on our list,” Murray said. “You shouldn’t hesitate when you’re getting the first player on your list.”
Murray said he’s been scouting Reinhart since the day he took the general manager’s job in Buffalo back in January. He had a trip planned to watch Reinhart play in Western Canada right away.
It’s Reinhart’s vision and hockey smarts that separated him from the other top prospects in the draft.
“Hockey sense, seeing the play three, four, five seconds before it happens, which most good players, I’d say it’s a couple seconds or whatever fractions you want to use. And I just think he has an ability to make wingers better,” Murray said. So now our job is to make sure that we have the proper guys to play with him.”
Reinhart’s next visit to Buffalo will be his first.
“I’ve never been to Buffalo so I’m pretty excited about it. Before they had the pick, I saw some of the city [in an intro video on the video board] so I’m looking forward to it.”
He’ll be in town for the team’s development camp July 14-18 and Murray said he’ll be involved in both that as well as the prospect tournament in Traverse City. Whether he’ll be ready for the NHL come October will depend on how he progresses.
“He’s a young prospect so he has a big summer ahead of him,” Murray said. “He’s got a development camp, a rookie tournament and training camp and exhibition games. And he will be judged each and every day of that schedule.”