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Panthers' Reinhart OK with contract talks ongoing amid career season

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Sam Reinhart is content to allow talks to continue on a potential contract extension with the Florida Panthers as the season goes on.

Reinhart, who is the midst of a career season with 37 goals through 49 games, is a pending unrestricted free agent. 

“I’ve got no issues with it being ongoing. They certainly don’t either,” Reinhart said Thursday, per NHL.com. “We’re both comfortable with where we’re at; we’re both trying to ultimately trying to win a Stanley Cup this year and that’s where our focus is mainly.”

The 28-year-old centre topped the 30-goal mark in each of the past two seasons as well, but has already topped his career-high of 33. He's also on pace to blow past his previous best in points of 82, as he sits at 62 already this season. 

Selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2014 draft, Reinhart was acquired by the Panthers in 2021. He added Thursday that there is mutual interest between the two sides in getting a new deal signed before July 1. 

“I mean, we both know where each other stands, we both know we want to get something done and we’re both comfortable with how it’s going. So, it’s not distracting me by any means,” he said. “I think when you’re trying to build something like we’re trying to in Florida, some things take time.”

Signed at a cap hit of $6.5 million, Reinhart is due for a raise on his current deal, though TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun noted last month his new salary still may not reach double digits. 

"The big name right now is Sam Reinhart. He has a shot at a 60-goal season, he's having a career year at the right time," Lebrun explained. "There's also a bit of a reality check here in the sense that he plays for the Florida Panthers, a team that's trying to build something with sustainability, they want to take a run at being a Cup contender. They're also in a state with no income tax. What does that mean? You look at Florida, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Dallas, Vegas, not a single player on any of those teams makes more than $10 million because of that.

"So Reinhart, on July 1, with another team, could be worth $10-11 million but I think it will end up being a deal under Matthew Tkachuk ($9.5 million AAV) and we should mention that they haven't really gotten into the meat of negotiations yet – general discussions but nothing too serious yet."

Over 663 career games with the Sabres and Panthers, Reinhart has 235 goals and 506 points. He was named to his first career All-Star game last month.