Sam Reinhart's fondness for getting in a goalie's face was talked about again Tuesday. Namely, did he envision himself in that role as he prepared for his NHL career?
"Probably not, to be honest," the Buffalo Sabres right winger said in KeyBank Center.
Reinhart was a slick-passing, goal-scoring center before the NHL. Now he's most effective when planting himself at the top of the crease and tipping pucks. He did it on the opening goal of Monday's 5-3 victory over Toronto, and he made the whole night miserable for Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen.
The first time Reinhart ever tried the net-front role was his rookie season under former coach Dan Bylsma.
"Growing up, I was always half-wall or middle, but I was able to take advantage of the opportunity there," Reinhart said. "Obviously, there's some good guys that I've been able to play on the power play with that we’ve been able to read and react off each other. In terms of five-on-five, the puck's going to go there eventually, so it's kind of crept into my game and I try to use that."
Reinhart has shown a knack for deflections and positioning, but there wasn't a set plan on how to become that type of player.
"There wasn't one thing that I kind of told myself, 'That's what I'm going to start doing and that's what I'm going to learn how to do,'" he said. "It's kind of naturally crept in.
"It's so hard to score goals in this league, and the puck's going to go there eventually. Maybe I just found that out early, had some success early with that and that's how I'm going to have to score goals in this league. I may as well go there."
Story topics: Sam Reinhart