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2024 Stanley Cup Champions

NHL Insider: Sam Reinhart Staying with the Florida Panthers



Sam Reinhart is all smiles after scoring his third goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 6 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

It appears that Sam Reinhart and the Florida Panthers have a deal in place which would keep the team’s leading scorer from hitting free agency on Monday at noon.

Speaking on his popular Sportsnet podcast ‘32 Thoughts,’ NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman reported what we have been hearing for months: Reinhart will remain with the Panthers.

Reinhart’s new deal is expected to be at least $9 million per seasons.

“It really sounds like Sam Reinhart, if not announced, that’s happening in Florida,’’ Friedman said. “There is not a person in the league who thinks Sam Reinhart is going to free agency.’’

General manager Bill Zito would have to announce Reinhart’s new contract by Sunday if it is for the maximum eight years; Florida is holding its championship parade on Fort Lauderdale Beach that day and it would not be surprising to think the team is holding off on announcing any contractual news until then.

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Reinhart, who will turn 29 in November, came to the Panthers in 2021 in a draft-time trade with the Buffalo Sabres. He signed a three-year contract extension with the team not long after.

In his first season with the Panthers, he set career highs in goals (33), assists (49) and points (82).

This season, he obliterated his goals record with 57 — which was third-most in franchise history for a single season behind Pavel Bure, and ranked second in the NHL to Toronto’s Auston Matthews.

“He knows how I feel and how I would love to play with him for the rest of my career,’’ Matthew Tkachuk said. “At the end of the day, I hope he gets as much money as he possibly can whether its from us or somebody else. He deserves it. He was incredibly huge for us.”

Throughout the season, Reinhart has said that he was not distracted by not having a contract in place, telling Florida Hockey Now that everything between himself and the Panthers was cool.

“It has been good. I have no issues with it being ongoing, and they don’t either,” Reinhart said in February before his first NHL All-Star appearance.

“We are both comfortable where we’re at and we’re trying to ultimately win the Stanley Cup this year. That is where our focus is.

“We both know where each other stands; we both want to get something done. We’re both comfortable with how it’s going. It is not distracting me by any means. When you try to build what we’re trying to build in Florida, some things take time.”

On Monday night, Reinhart scored his 10th goal of the playoffs in the second period of Game 7 — that one standing up as the game-winner against the Edmonton Oilers to bring the Panthers their first Stanley Cup championship.

He reiterated that he wanted to remain with the Panthers.

“I don’t want to leave, I want to be here,’’ Reinhart told FHN. “This is unbelievable, this is the best place in the league to play in my option.”

With Reinhart re-upping with the Panthers, it would appear defenseman Brandon Montour will land somewhere else for the coming season.

Montour is the second biggest free agent from the Panthers behind Reinhart and could command $7 million on the open market.

Florida simply does not have that kind of money.

Going into the draft, Florida has $19.5 million of cap space for next season with 11 unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you’re never going to have — the way the cap is, the way teams are — the same team year after year,’’ Tkachuk said.

“Obviously we would love to keep as many of the guys here as possible for the memories we have created this year. At the end of the day, we have a lot of guys up for contracts and I hope they make as much money as they can if possible. They deserve it, they are Stanley Cup champions. They were insanely huge parts of us winning.’’

For More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Florida Panthers:

  • Stanley Cup Championship Parade, Fort Lauderdale: Sunday, 11 a.m.
  • NHL Draft, Las Vegas: Friday-Saturday
  • NHL Free Agency: Monday
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: TBA

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