BUFFALO, N.Y. — Lost in the shuffle of Sabres captain Jack Eichel expressing a "disconnect" between himself and the organization handling his herniated neck injury, which ended his season on March 7, was forward Sam Reinhart not committing to his willingness to return to Buffalo next season during Monday's exit interviews.
"No one wants to go through a rebuild, especially into next year, turning 26 at the start of it or close to the start of it," said Reinhart, who was the Sabres 2014 second overall pick. "It’s tough not being able to play meaningful games down the stretch... I don’t think anyone wants to go through that."
Reinhart was the most productive Sabre, offensively, this season with 40 points and 25 goals. He will be a restricted free agent this offseason.
"In terms of the future... I’m going to take some time. That stuff’s all going to get figured out when the time comes," Reinhart said.
Reinhart and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen both wore alternate captain letters on their jerseys this season after injuries to defenseman Jake McCabe and the captain Jack Eichel.
The future is up in the air for all four of those players, with McCabe as an unrestricted free agent; Reinhart, and Eichel sharing their discontent on staying with the team next season; and Ristolainen saying he is open for a trade.
Ristolainen, 26, said he told general managers Kevyn Adams he is "open to all scenarios," whether its being traded or staying with the team.
"The way the younger guys played this year toward the end of the year, it gives you confidence about the future, but for me, I can't do another rebuild or wait multiple years. For me, we have to get to the playoffs next year," Ristolainen said.
"For me, it's either here or hopefully then somewhere else."