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Panthers’ Sam Reinhart is looking like an All-Star and is recognized league-wide

Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) looks for an open teammate during the first period of an NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Amerant Bank Arena on Sunday, Nov 12, 2023, in Sunrise, Fla.

It’s hard to overstate how valuable Sam Reinhart has been to the Florida Panthers’ success so far this season. The 28-year-old winger has dominated both ends of the ice and seems to be in the right place at the right time whenever a play is developing.

And his performance, which has been All-Star caliber at minimum and is hovering toward franchise-record marks, is being recognized around the league.

Reinhart on Monday was named the NHL’s third star of the week after playing a key role in the Panthers going 3-0 last week with wins against the Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets.

In those three games, Reinhart tallied eight points — one goal and seven assists. This included a career high four assists in Florida’s win against Columbus on Sunday.

“He’s so detailed with everything he does,” forward Carter Verhaeghe said. “He makes awesome passes and he scores. He’s a complete player and one of the best players on our team. You see it night in, night out.”

Through 27 games, he leads the Panthers in goals (17), assists (20) and points (37). His 17 goals are tied for fourth in the NHL and his 37 points are tied for fifth.

Reinhart is on pace for 112 points this season. That would not only shatter his career high of 82 but would be just the second most in a season in Panthers history behind only Jonathan Huberdeau’s 115-point campaign in the 2021-22 season. Tkachuk (109 in 2022-23 season) is the only other Panthers player with a 100-point season.

Reinhart’s 13 multipoint games are tied for the NHL lead with the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak, New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov.

“He doesn’t stop,” defenseman Gustav Forsling said. “He’s been amazing so far, and I think it’s gonna keep going.”

But Reinhart’s defensive efforts might have been as impressive as his offense. Playing on Florida’s top line with star center Aleksander Barkov and a rotating third player (generally Evan Rodrigues, but Verhaeghe has been up there the past two games), the Panthers have given up just eight goals when Reinhart is on the ice at full strength.

Reinhart is also a key player on Florida’s penalty kill.

His plus-minus rating of plus-18 (meaning the Panthers have outscored opponents by 18 goals at even strength or when shorthanded while Reinhart is on the ice) is second-best among forwards behind only Barkov (plus-20).

“He’s been very, very consistent,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “He’s certainly a two-way player. We’re looking at his numbers as elite, but he’s really been more than just an offensive player for us.”