The band is back together.
"I’m just thrilled to be back and around the guys because anytime they’re all here and you’re not, it is not an easy — or easy mentally to be in," said Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart.
The 22-year-old practiced for the first time Thursday after signing his new two-year, $7.3 million deal. He’s doing his best to get back into game shape — even skipping to the front of many drills, with hopes of playing Saturday.
“I thought he looked great today, right up to speed. I understand you are coming in off a new deal you are going to have that adrenaline. It is the second and third day that we are looking for him to see where he is,” said Sabres head coach Phil Housley.
And now that the contract is behind them, Reinhart and the Sabres have started looking forward. They hope it looks like the most recent past, when Reinhart had 20 of his 25 goals in the team's final 44 games — tied for 12th in the league for the most goals after January 1.
"I think it was a great step in Sam's development in the second half. He came on really strong. There was elements of battling down low by the net and capitalizing on those chances and that is our job to carry that over into this season,” said Sabres general manager Jason Botterill.
"I know the player I can be and I know how I was able to turn things around. I think just keeping that confidence, having that self-belief, will go a long way in my game,” said Reinhart.