The Best Landing Spots for Sam Reinhart

Reinhart celebrates his goal in the first period against the Fliers. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton) (Derik Hamilton / Associated Press)

Sam Reinhart is set to hit free agency on July 1st on the heels of a career-best season for the 28-year-old Florida Panther. Reinhart, the 2nd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, had career highs in goals, points, shot percentage, and power-play goals. The West Vancouver native enters free agency as the most coveted forward available, and teams will be lining up to make their pitch when the time comes. Here are five of the best landing spots for the gritty center:

Florida Panthers

After winning a Stanley Cup with Florida and having the best success of his career in Sunrise, it would be hard to imagine Reinhart leaving the Panthers. He’s flourished with the Cats, finally living up to being the number two overall pick in the draft, and their style of play fits him perfectly. Florida has over 20 million in cap space, and most experts believe that General Manager Bill Zito’s two main priorities this off-season are re-signing Reinhart and fellow UFA Brandon Montour. As much as other teams would love to pry Reinhart away from the Panthers, look for him to remain with the defending cup champions.

Nashville Predators

Nashville General Manager Barry Trotz wants to make an impact, and he’ll have the cap space to do it. With money to burn Trotz will be trying to bolster a sneaky-good Predators team. With all-star talent in goal, defense, and at wing, “Smashville” has some pieces to build around. Nashville needs to upgrade their offense, and signing the best goal scorer in free agency would help bolster a unit that finished 10th in the NHL. Reinhart would slot in nicely next to the dynamic and equally as rugged Filip Forsberg to provide a lethal 1-2 punch.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals started slowly in 2023-2024 and were written off by “talking heads” at the trade deadline, but they found their game down the stretch and were able to sneak into the playoffs. Washington is undergoing a transition as one of the oldest teams in the league tries to get younger. The Capitals core group led by Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie, and John Carlson are all north of 30 years old, and if you take out Wilson, Carlson is the youngest at 34. It’s time for some new blood, and the 28-year-old Reinhart could help Washington’s core get a little younger. He would add another dimension to a powerplay that may have gotten a little stale with their over-reliance on the “Great 8”. Reinhart led the league in power-play goals with 27, and his ability from the slot could take some pressure off Ovechkin while also giving the future HOFer more space for his lethal one-timer.

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit narrowly missed the post-season last year and GM Steve Yzerman and the Wings are hungry to climb back into the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Sam Reinhart, the West Vancouver native, is a gritty, skilled center with Stanley Cup experience, which would give Detroit a push in the right direction. Detroit has money to spend in free agency, and now may be the time to make a bold move or two to continue building the Wings back into the contender they were when Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom raised the Cup almost 20 years ago.

Seattle Kraken

The Kraken is a dark horse to sign Reinhart, but Seattle isn’t far from West Vancouver, so maybe Reinhart decides to play closer to home. Seattle needs his goal-scoring, as the Kraken were the 4th worst-scoring team in the league in 2023-2024 at 2.61 goals per game (only the lowly Ducks, Sharks, and Blackhawks were worse). Reinhart would be an immediate jolt to the Kraken’s offense. He alone probably wouldn’t be enough to make the Kraken playoff contenders. Seattle does have the cash to sign him and could outbid others for his services to give fans something to be excited about in the Emerald City.

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