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Reinhart Heads Home at Top of His Game with Florida Panthers

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Sam Reinhart celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars last Wednesday night in Sunrise. Reinhart was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week for the second time this season on Monday. // Photo by Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It should be quite the homecoming for Sam Reinhart as he and the Florida Panthers spend the next few days in the Pacific Northwest.

Reinhart has played numerous NHL games in his hometown of Vancouver before — seven times, to be exact — but none in which he was playing as well as he is now.

The Panthers are in Seattle now and will play the Kraken tonight before heading to Vancouver to play the Canucks on Thursday night.

On Monday, Reinhart was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week for the second time this season.

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He came into Monday tied for third in the league with 17 goals and tied for fifth with 37 points.

Reinhart is not only off to the best start of his career but it is not even close.

Last week, Reinhart led the league with seven assists and eight points in three games including four assists in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets.

Sunday was Reinhart’s 13th multi-point game which is tied for most in the NHL.

“He is feeling good and earning every bit of it,’’ coach Paul Maurice said. “He plays big minutes, he kills penalties for us and is certainly a two-way player. We’re looking at his numbers and say ‘he’s elite’ but he has been more than just an offensive player for us.”

Carter Verhaeghe has been around Reinhart these past three seasons after Florida swung a blockbuster deal with Buffalo at the 2021 NHL draft.

Maurice has Verhaeghe back on the top line with Reinhart and Sasha Barkov and that trio was on the ice for Florida’s first two goals of the game as the Panthers took a 2-1 lead into the third before it became a special teams battle in the third.

“He is so detailed with everything that he does,” Verhaeghe said. “He makes awesome passes, can score and is a complete player. He is one of the best players on our team night in and night out. He is putting up the points right now, but even when he is not, he is still really effective.”

Reinhart, in speaking to NHL.com last week, credited the short offseason to his quick start out of the gate.

At this point in the previous two seasons, Reinhart had seven goals.

“It has been really fun and this is the time of year where I really get started,’’ Reinhart said. “One of the factors I attribute is playing hockey until June last year. It didn’t take as much time getting comfortable on the ice again.”

When it comes to his future with the Panthers, Reinhart reiterated that he wants to remain in South Florida.

Reinhart, as things stand right now, will be one of the top free agent players on the market.

Florida GM Bill Zito expressed his desire to get something done with Reinhart in the future when he spoke with NHL.com before Florida’s game against Winnipeg last month.

“I’m comfortable with it being ongoing,” Reinhart told NHL.com. “They know I want to be here and I know they want me here.

“It’s just a matter of getting it done. It’s not something that’s distracting me now nor will it in the future. We’re on the same page right now and know where we both are.”

Editor’s Note: George Richards is the Florida Panthers’ correspondent for NHL.com and compiled the interviews and wrote the stories on Reinhart and Zito.

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ SEATTLE KRAKEN 

  • When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.
  • Where: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • This Season (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 3, Kraken 2 (Oct.28). At Seattle: Tuesday.
  • Last Season: Tied 1-1
  • All-Time Regular Season Series: Seattle leads 3-2-0
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Vancouver, 10
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