The first-round pick is lottery protected, sources said. If the Panthers pick in the top 10 in 2022, the pick moves to 2023.
Reinhart, 25, was Buffalo’s leading scorer last season with 40 points in 54 games. He spent all seven years of his NHL career with the Sabres, who drafted him second overall in 2014. Reinhart has 295 points in 454 games.
“Sam has established himself as one of the best playmaking scorers in the league, and we are thrilled to be able to add him to our Panthers lineup,” Panthers GM Bill Zito said. “His competitiveness and hunger to succeed will fit seamlessly with the culture we are building here in South Florida.”
Reinhart is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, coming off a season in which he earned $5.2 million against the salary cap. He’s the latest in a series of RFAs with arbitration rights who have been traded in the past week.
That was the case with Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who was traded to Detroit; forward Pavel Buchnevich, who was traded by the New York Rangers to the St. Louis Blues; and forward Conor Garland, who was traded to the Vancouver Canucks.
The Sabres received their second first-round pick in a trade this week, having acquired Philadelphia’s first-rounder in 2021 in a trade for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen on Friday. Buffalo selected forward Isak Rosen at No. 14 overall.
Levi, 19, gives the Sabres an option for their goalie of the future. A Northeastern University player, he went 6-1-0 with a .964 save percentage and three shutouts for Team Canada in winning silver at the U20 world junior championship this year. He was a seventh-round selection by the Panthers in 2020. His style of play has earned comparisons to NHL stars Carey Price and Jonathan Quick.
But with Sergei Bobrovsky under contract until 2026 with a full no-move clause, and top prospect Spencer Knight ready to shine in the NHL next season, the Panthers’ goaltending depth was solid at the top, making Levi expendable.
Buffalo continues to engage in trade talks regarding franchise center Jack Eichel, who could be the next familiar name shipped out of town.
Buffalo Sabres trade forward Sam Reinhart to Florida Panthers for 2022 first-round pick, prospect
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