Sam Reinhart (via Sportsnet/YouTube)
Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart suffered an upper-body injury after colliding with Colorado’s John Mitchell Wednesday night. Reinhart, 20, was forced out of the contest and the Sabres said he’ll be reevaluated to determine a timeline for his return. In 47 games, Reinhart has 12 goals and 20 points.
With Jack Eichel in Buffalo, Sam Reinhart, selected second overall by the Sabres in 2014, is sometimes overlooked. The 20-year-old winger has had a good rookie year and contributed 12 goals and 20 points, but he ran into a roadblock Wednesday in the form of Colorado Avalanche center John Mitchell.
In the second period of Thursday’s game against the Avalanche, Reinhart was cutting through the middle of the ice in an attempt to chase down a loose puck near the Buffalo blueline. As Reinhart began to skate back to the puck, Mitchell turned to locate the puck, cut back towards the Colorado zone and ran directly into Reinhart. The collision left both men down for a few moments, and Reinhart skated off the ice with a member of the Sabres training staff.
Shortly after the collision, the Sabres announced that Reinhart was ruled out of the remainder of Wednesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Post-game, Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma had no update on Reinhart, saying only that he would be reevaluated by medical staff when the Sabres returned to Buffalo to determine a timeline for his return.
Though his scoring may not be blowing anyone away at this point, Reinhart’s two-way ability and versatility has made him an important part of what successes the Sabres have had this season. Reinhart’s zone starts are split fairly equally between the offensive, defensive and neutral zones, but he has the best possession numbers of any forward in Buffalo. Reinhart boasts a 52 percent shot attempts for percentage and only Zemgus Girgensons and Matt Moulson has a better shot suppression rate among Sabres forwards.
Reinhart was given a nine-game audition with Buffalo in 2014-15 but was sent back to the WHL to finish the campaign. The extra seasoning has helped him this season as he’s been an effective second- or third-liner throughout the campaign.