Sam Reinhart's Career Year

Sam Reinhart picked a fantastic time to transform into one of the NHL’s premier goal scorers. With 17 games to go, Reinhart has 45 goals, well above his career high of 33. He has a chance to match Florida’s franchise single-season record for goals of 59, set by Pavel Bure in 2000-2001. Reinhart reached a new level after his trade from Buffalo in 2021, producing 82 points in his first year as a Panther. But his contract-year ascension has taken him to new heights, with Reinhart producing like a superstar for the first time in his career.

Looking ahead to free agency, Reinhart has established himself as the top player available. Florida is bound to make a strong push to re-sign Reinhart, with over $20 million of cap space to work with. If he hits the open market, he will command plenty of interest from several NHL teams. Let’s analyze the factors leading to Sam Reinhart’s career year and examine what he deserves on his next contract.

What Has Led To Sam Reinhart’s Career Year?

Special Teams

Sam Reinhart has been an absolute beast on special teams this season. The Panthers forward has 30 powerplay points this year, 25 of which are goals. For perspective, the Columbus Blue Jackets have 25 powerplay goals as a team. Reinhart is lethal in the bumper position on the powerplay, ripping home several goals from the slot. Reinhart also thrives in the net-front position when he’s not scoring from the slot. The 28-year-old can score with quick moves around the net and is deft with deflections too. Reinhart has been an integral part of Florida’s powerplay, which ranks 4th in the NHL this season.

On the penalty kill, Reinhart has found a way to contribute as well. He has scored five shorthanded goals this season, helping the Panthers to a top-ten ranking on the PK. Reinhart is responsible defensively, but he’s always ready to pounce on an opportunity to create offence while shorthanded. Aleksander Barkov and Reinhart are an elite pair of two-way forwards and their chemistry has made the Panthers a dangerous team even while killing penalties.

Sam Reinhart’s Career Year


This section is not meant to discredit Reinhart for his success. Reinhart deserves plenty of praise for the season he’s putting together, but his teammates certainly factor into his success too. Just ask Jonathan Huberdeau the difference playing with Aleksander Barkov can make. Barkov has centered Reinhart’s line for the majority of the season, playing with Reinhart on the first powerplay unit too. Barkov is a rare player, with the ability to take on tough defensive assignments, while also making his linemates better offensively. He has set up more than a few of Reinhart’s goals this year, including last week’s jaw-dropping assist against the Rangers.

Another teammate who deserves recognition for Reinhart’s success is Matthew Tkachuk. If it isn’t Barkov setting up Reinhart on the powerplay, it’s often Tkachuk feeding him the puck. Tkachuk’s prowess as an elite net-front player commands opponents’ attention, leaving more space in the slot for Reinhart to get open. Reinhart has done a fantastic job capitalizing on the chances his teammates create for him. He’s scoring on 25.6% of his shots, another career high. The Panther’s offensive success this year can be attributed to having several players who are dangerous as both playmakers and scorers. Reinhart is at the forefront of that success.

Sam Reinhart’s Career Year – What Does He Deserve On His Next Contract

Let’s break down the factors that are most important in determining Reinhart’s value.


Reinhart will still be 28 when he signs his next contract. It’s rare that a free agent with his talent enters free agency in the midst of his prime. Reinhart will likely be looking for an eight-year contract, meaning it would take him to age 36. Although there are significant risks when signing a player to an expensive money deal that runs into his late 30s, this is an ideal situation for interested teams. While he may not have a season as prolific as this one, Reinhart will still be a valuable player throughout most of his contract.


Reinhart’s versatility is an important factor in his value. Positionally, the fact that Reinhart is comfortable playing centre, as well as the wing, is attractive to potential suitors. NHL teams are constantly looking to acquire depth at the centre position, and players who aren’t one-dimensional are very valuable.

Reinhart’s versatile style of play is another asset. He can be trusted to play in any situation, whether it be on special teams, even strength or key defensive matchups. Reinhart is also gifted at both scoring and playmaking, as he showed in his first year as a Panther when he piled up 49 assists. In the playoffs, Reinhart has scored clutch goals, contributing to Florida’s postseason success. Reinhart is a dependable, all-around player that NHL general managers covet.


Let’s examine three players with similar production to Reinhart who signed their contracts around the same age.

John Tavares

Although John Tavares is in year six of his seven year contract with the Maple Leafs, he is the last bonafide number one centre to hit unrestricted free agency. There are a few differences, such as Tavares status as a pure centre compared to Reinhart spending most of this season on the wing. Tavares also probably had a more accomplished career than Reinhart before he hit free agency.

Regardless, Reinhart’s current season is more productive than any Tavares had before he left Long Island. Tavares never broke 40 goals as an Islander and topped out at 86 points. Reinhart is currently on pace for 96. In his contract year, Tavares had 37 goals and 47 assists. I am not convinced that Reinhart will get quite as much as Tavares got, but if he does hit the open market his agents will surely point to Tavares as a comparable.

Sam Reinhart's Career Year

William Nylander

Looking at a more recent example, Nylander’s 8 x $11.5 million contract is a prime comparable for Reinhart. Like Reinhart, Nylander can play centre but played his contract year as a winger. Nylander currently has more points, but fewer goals than Reinhart, and is in the midst of his 3rd consecutive season of at least 80 points. Again, I’m not confident Reinhart will end up with a contract as rich as Nylander’s, but the comparison is certainly fair.

Brayden Point

Brayden Point is an important comparable to bring up for multiple reasons, including the state he and Reinhart play in. It’s been argued that teams in states with no income tax such as Florida have an advantage in signing free agents. Tampa Bay has been a prime example of this, signing several of their own players for below what they could have received on the open market.

Point, who racked up 92 points in 2018-19 and led the playoffs in goals in consecutive years signed an 8 x $9.5 million contract in the summer following the Lightning’s second Stanley Cup. Signing a young centre who can score goals at an elite level, especially in the postseason is a steal. The Panthers will be lucky if they can convince Reinhart to take a similar deal.

Prediction Of Sam Reinhart’s Contract

Reinhart re-signs in Florida on an 8-year $78 million deal, with an AAV of $9.75 million.

What do you think of Sam Reinhart’s career year? Is it sustainable? What does he deserve on his next contract? Let me know and stay tuned to Area 51 as we cover the rest of the NHL season and playoffs.