The Florida Panthers currently hold the #1 overall selection in this years NHL entry draft and while this draft isn’t as deep or star studded as past years, there are still some players the Cats could definitely use. Lets take a look at each of the top 5 prospects individually in this years draft according to the scouting service ISS Hockey and see what they could possibly bring to the Panthers. First in this five part series we will take a look at the top ranked player in the draft.
Coming in at number one is the center iceman, and captain of the Kootenay Ice, Sam Reinhart. Reinhart was selected with the 15th pick in the WHL draft in 2010, and was named rookie of the year during the 2011 season in the as he scored 28 times and added 34 assists. Reinhart’s point total increased his sophomore year as he compiled 35 goals and 50 assists, leading the way for his team in the goals and points categories. The 85 points earned Reinhart a spot on the WHL Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team and he was named the captain of the Ice for the 2013-2014 season. The 2013 season is the one that put NHL teams on notice as Sam put up a total of 105 points in just 60 games. He was also named to the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team and was crowned the WHLs most valuable player. So what qualities does Sam posses? According to his page on eliteprospects.com, “Reinhart is a nice blend of poise, maturity and a high hockey IQ. He’s got creative hands, excellent vision and superb instinct in the offensive end. He’s able to slow things down and dissect the play. He battles hard and is a true team leader.”
- Why he would fit: Reinhart has the mixture of skill and character that General Manager Dale Tallon looks for when drafting players. And with 105 points in his final season with Kootenay, Reinhart proved he knows how to put points on the board and he could provide an immediate boosts to an anemic Panthers offense that ranked second to last in goals scored per game and was last in the league in power play percentage at 10%. Furthermore, the Panthers offense broke one of those records you don’t wanna break as Nick Bjugstad led the team in points with only 38 which is the lowest for a teams leading scorer in the history of the NHL. Well that doesnt seem like much, Nick Bjugstad was a 21 year old rookie. Clearly, the Cats could use some more offensive firepower.
- Why he wouldn’t fit: Reinhart is a center and if you look at the current Panther depth chart you will notice that we currently have quite the logjam at center. We already have Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Vincent Trocheck so center isn’t a big area of need. Additionally, Reinhart’s style of play is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer which the Panthers desperately need. While Reinhart would bring a boost to the offense, I just don’t see him as being the ideal fit for us.
Panthers Forward Depth ChartLeft WingersCentersRight Wingers
Sean Bergenheim Aleksander Barkov Brad Boyes Jonathan Huberdeau Nick Bjugstad Scottie Upshall Tomas Fleischmann Vincent Trocheck Tomas Kopecky Quinton Howden Drew Shore Bobby Butler Joey Crabb
Check out some of his highlights here.
What do you think about Reinhart? Should the Panthers take him first overall in the draft? Let us know in the comments section. Your input is appreciated and check back soon to read up on the #2 player in this years draft.