Sam Reinhart and Joe Thornton excited about Florida Panthers; see opportunity to win Stanley Cup

The Florida Panthers signed two new players this summer that will play a key role in reaching their ultimate goal – the Stanley Cup. Newly acquired forwards Sam Reinhart and Joe Thornton are both excited about what this team will do next season.

Sam Reinhart motivated by trade to Panthers

The Florida Panthers on Wednesday announced a 3-year contract worth $19.5 million with Sam Reinhart. His AAV comes out to $6.5M against the cap.

Reinhart, 25, was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on July 24th in exchange for goaltender Devon Levi and a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

“I saw a couple games against Tampa, which was a heck of a series,” Reinhart said referencing this past postseason. “To be able to see where they were able to get to and ultimately where they want to get to is something motivating for me, especially from summer moving into the start of camp and the start of the season.”

Coming over as a restricted free agent he led the Sabres in goals (25) and points (40). Reinhart has recorded 295 points (134 goals, 161 assists) in 454 career games since being selected second overall by Buffalo in the 2014 NHL Draft.

The Panthers now have a highly motived player itching to compete in the playoffs.

“It’s exciting and has that extra level of motivation, knowing the group of guys they have, knowing the talent level that’s there and what they’re setting out to do, what their goals are,” Reinhart said of his new deal on Thursday. “It’s a great feeling and really refreshing coming into that mindset and I can’t wait to do my part and fit into what they’ve already been building and hope to help put us over the top.”

Florida Panthers

Joe Thornton feel Panthers close to winning it all

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Joe Thornton on LTIR (NHLI)

Jumbo Joe is scheduled to take flight again in 2021-22. The Florida Panthers signed the veteran forward to a one-year contract on Friday. Reports indicate that it is for the league minimum of $750,000.

“I see their team on paper,” Thornton said via Zoom. “I love what they’re building, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Everything is ultimately about winning the Stanley Cup. The Panthers are right there in my opinion.”

Thornton, 42, recorded 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 44 games last season with the Maple Leafs.

The recipient of the Hart and Art Ross trophies in 2005-06, Thornton has collected 1,529 points (425 goals, 1,104 assists) in 1,680 career games. He was selected by Boston with the first overall pick of the 1997 NHL Draft.

Now he’s ready to continue to chase his Stanley Cup dreams and is thrilled to join the Panthers.

“It was a great series,” Thornton said. “I loved [watching the Panthers]. It left a big impression on me. I talked to [Panthers general manager] Bill [Zito]. I talked to Lou [Panthers special advisor to the general manager Roberto Luongo]. I talked to [Panthers head coach] Joel Quenneville. They were just so excited about their team, what they’re building down there, and just thought I’d be a great fit with this group.”

Florida Panthers

-Field Level Media contributed to this report.