Sam Reinhart began Buffalo Sabres training camp with plenty of hype following his every stride after being selected second overall in the 2014 NHL draft. Many speculated that Reinhart was already the team’s best center and would make the decrepit Buffalo squad without issue. However, surprising performances from those with which Reinhart is competing and a surprising struggle from Reinhart himself have put all that in jeopardy.
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“It’s getting a little frustrating,” Reinhart said per Mike Harrington at The Buffalo News. “I think the biggest thing is I’m getting chances, trying to create. I’m just going to stick with it and focus on the bigger picture. But obviously that’s part of my game and I think that’s going to have to come.”
In addition to Reinhart’s troubles with his own game, the teenager is falling behind the competition. Mikhail Grigorenko, a 2012 first rounder who arrived with similar expectations, entered camp in better shape than ever and has dazzled with a few highlight-reel plays to go with a much stronger two-way game. Grigorenko knows a thing or two about Reinhart’s struggles, given that he was in the same position two years as a floundering 18-year-old in the NHL.
Sabres fans are hoping that management has learned from the past and will take the patient path with Reinhart. As exciting as it is to get a glimpse of a promising young star, the team would likely be better suited in sending Reinhart back to junior hockey for the year in an effort to allow him the time to grow physically and mentally during a season in which expectations are low for Buffalo anyways.
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