After months of speculation and anticipation, the Buffalo Sabres made it official on Friday, selecting Kootenay center Sam Reinhart with the second overall pick in the NHL Draft.
The 18-year-old Reinhart heads to the Sabres' organization with four years of WHL experience under his belt, including a 2013-14 season that saw him net a career-high 36 goals and 105 points. He also suited up for Team Canada in the 2014 World Junior Championship, picking up two goals and three assists in seven games.
Standing 6'1" and weighing 185 pounds, Reinhart is said to possess a high amount of hockey smarts and maturity.
"I think I use my hockey sense to my advantage," Reinhart said. "I seem to be in the right place at the right time. I think when I come in, I make players around me better and I can kind of fit with any player, and I'm pretty versatile."
He comes from a hockey family -- his father, Paul, played 11 seasons for the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Reinhart's brothers, Max and Griffin, are property of the Flames and Islanders, respectively. Having close relatives with draft experience turned into a benefit for Reinhart. "I was pretty comfortable and familiar with the [draft] process and thrilled with the way it turned out," he told Hockey Hotline on WGR 550.
Reinhart is already somewhat familiar with two current Sabres, having recently spent time with Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson. "I was fortunate enough to go up with Team Canada for a couple days this past April and practice a couple of times and play an exhibition game with them," he said. "We talked about the possibility of maybe being teammates in the future. They're both great guys and I'm excited to be a part of it."
When asked about the possibility of suiting up for the Sabres next season, Reinhart didn't flinch. "The biggest thing was them was asking if I feel ready and that's the most important thing for me," he said. "I'm very motivated to make the jump next year and I feel like I'm ready, and I'm going to continue to prepare even more. I'm looking forward to getting a chance to start a nice, long career in Buffalo."
Listen to Reinhart's entire interview with the guys from Hockey Hotline below.