Max Reinhart forgoes NHL free agency, signs deal with German club

After an off-season trade and frustrating season, Max Reinhart is heading overseas for the 2016-17 season. Reinhart, 24, signed a deal with Germany’s Kolner Haie. Since being drafted 64th overall in 2010, Reinhart has played just 23 games in the NHL.

In the four seasons since he began his professional career, Max Reinhart hasn’t been able to find himself a steady role in the NHL. And after spending the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign in the AHL, Reinhart has decided to take his game overseas.

The DEL’s Kolner Haie announced they have signed Reinhart to a contract for the 2016-17 season. Reinhart’s deal comes following what was arguably the most disappointing campaign of the 24-year-old’s career. In 73 games with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate, Reinhart managed 23 goals and 38 points in 73 games, but that made for his lowest-scoring season since his rookie campaign. That didn’t scare the German club off, though.

“Max Reinhart is a young, dynamic player who can be used on both the center and on the outside position. He is strong on the offensive and has a good shot,” said Kolner sports director Mark Mahon.

Reinhart was drafted in the third-round, 64th overall, by the Calgary Flames in 2010, but he was never able to impress the Flames enough to stick around the big club. In 2012-13, Reinhart got his best shot, playing 11 games for the Flames and averaging more than 14 minutes of ice time per night. He scored one goal and three points during that brief stint, but the majority of his season was spent in the AHL, where he notched seven goals and 21 points in 61 games.

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Over the next two campaigns, Reinhart showed off some serious scoring touch in the AHL — he netted 36 goals and 102 points in 135 games — but that only resulted in a combined 12 NHL games. Reinhart managed two points and took fourth-line minutes in that handful of games, but was never a regular in the NHL lineup.

Reinhart had a chance to get his career back on track this past season in Nashville after he was shipped out by Calgary. It didn’t quite work out the way Reinhart likely pictured after he signed his one-year, two-way deal with the Predators. He was a fixture in the AHL lineup, but Reinhart didn’t get a single game in with Nashville, let alone a single call-up.

Set to become a restricted free agent — and one that likely would not have been qualified by the Predators — Reinhart could have tried his hand at the open market come July 1. There could have been a fit for Reinhart somewhere in the AHL. If that’s to come, though, it won’t be until next season at the earliest.