We continue into the single digits with a kid whose name makes him sound like he could be a bad guy in a Mighty Ducks movie, Griffin Reinhart. Here’s the thing about Reinhart, he’s huge. Also, he’s pretty good at hockey. Last season, in 58 games for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, Reinhart put up 12 goals and 24 assists to go along with 38 penalty minutes and a plus-23 rating. The first place Oil Kings carved their way through the WHL playoffs en route to defeating the Portland Winterhawks in the finals. In 20 postseason games, Reinhart put up 2 goals and six assists with 20 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating.
Reinhart does not have a lot of international experience, though he did skate for Team Pacific at the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. In six games for the third place finishers, Reinhart scored 1 goal to go along with 6 assists. He also played for Team Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. While the team finished with a gold medal, Reinahrt did not score any points though he did play in all five of the team’s games.
Weight: 207 pounds
Born: January 24, 1994
What People In The Know Know
Reinhart is a smart, dependable and intimidating presence in the defensive zone, and also boasts strong puck-moving skills and a big shot from the point. A good skater with great mobility for his size, Reinhart possesses good hockey sense and strong instincts in the defensive zone, and can make an impact in the offensive zone as well with his passing skills and heavy shot. One of three Reinhart brothers playing in the WHL, Griffin boasts many similarities to Nashville Predators’ star and former Kelowna Rocket Shea Weber
The 2012 draft class it touted by many as the year of the defencemen. This strong talent and depth on the blueline make it hard for defenders to stand out. Nevertheless, Reinhart’s big stature and sandpaper style has separated him from the defensive crop to some extent. The North Vancouver, B.C., native stands at least three-inches taller than all of the other defencemen ranked in the top-15 of North American skaters by Central Scouting. He also plays a lot more physical of a game than the majority of the blueliners who are pegged to have their names called early on in the first-round.
The son of former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart projects as a big, strong, two-way defender, but scouts want to see more physicality.
Reinhart does a decent but not great job with 1-on-1 coverage in front of his own net, has good offensive instincts and makes a strong first pass.
“I didn’t like him at all in the summer and he lost a lot of points with me, but he got them all back,” one scout said. “he got better and better as the season went on.”
Reinhart grew more comfortable as the season progressed and was a major contributor to an Edmonton Oil Kings team that was almost unbeatable late in the season and in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Scouts think he’ll become a more complete player as he fills out over the next couple years.
“You’d like him to be more physical,” said another scout. “For a big guy, he’s not that hard to play against defensively. Being nasty just doesn’t seem to be in his nature.”
From The Horse’s Mouth
Reinhart has all the tools to be an extremely successful NHL defenseman, but scouts don’t seem to be sold on if he can put it all together. He’s not nearly as flashy a defenseman as some of the others in the draft but his size is an asset that cannot be overlooked. I think he has the potential to be one of the better defenders to come out of the draft but he needs to learn to throw his body around a little more than he already does.
That being said, Reinhart is very young and these are all things that can be taught. He’s currently ranked 10th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting and while it wouldn’t shock me to see him drop out of the top 10 on Friday, I think that the teams that passed on the big defenseman will be very sorry that they did.