The Florida Panthers have acquired forward Sam Reinhart from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for goalie Devon Levi and a conditional 2022 first-round pick. The draft pick is top-10 protected.
This may be the most even trade of the past few days, which is not saying much. The Sabres are able to trade their second-best player. The return is not perfect, but it is passable. Reinhart wanted out due to the team’s recent lack of success. He is about to become a restricted free agent and is just a year away from unrestricted free agency. The Sabres were not keeping Reinhart for long. As the Panthers look to compete over the next few years, Buffalo should not expect a high pick, especially with the protection. In Levi, they get a goaltender selected in the 7th round last draft. He was amazing as Canada’s starter in the past World Juniors, posting a 0.75 GAA and a .964 save percentage over seven games. He has the chance to become much better than his seventh-round peers.
Levi, 19, had a 1.47 GAA with a .941 save percentage and eight shutouts in 37 games for the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians.
The Panthers get a lot better with this trade. Reinhart was the Sabres’ best player in 2020-21 with Jack Eichel injured and Taylor Hall struggling before a trade. He can center and play the wing. He is a big net-front presence on the power-play, where he scored 10 times this past year. The 2nd overall pick in 2014 needs to be signed, which could be the problem here. Given how close he is to having the chance to leave, the Panthers cannot give him a 1-2 year deal. The price is not absorbent, as the condition on the pick gives them a safety guard.
Reinhart, 25, scored 25 goals with 15 assists for 40 points in 54 games for the Sabres in 2020-21. In his NHL career, all in Buffalo, Reinhart has scored 134 goals with 161 assists for 295 points in 434 games.