Edit: Selected #4 overall by the Islanders
As we round out the top 10 prospects for this year’s NHL draft, we come across yet another defenceman. Today’s prospect is the big, physical specimen, Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings. The WHL is absolutely loaded with great defensive prospects this year and Reinhart joins Ryan Murray, Matt Dumba and Morgan Rielly in our top 10 draft eligible prospects.
Born Jan 24 1994 — West Vancouver, BC
Height 6.04 — Weight 202 — Shoots L
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Reinhart comes from good bloodlines as he is the son of former Calgary Flames Defenceman Paul Reinhart. Reinhart is already 6’4 and over 200 lbs, he is huge, and is a physically intimidating presence in the defensive zone. He’s a heavy, hitter and is physically punishing to opposition forwards. Reinhart is a true shut down defenceman, with excellent positioning in the his own zone, and his big frame and long stick allow him to block shots and cut down passing lanes. He also uses his great size and strength to keep the Oil Kings’ crease clear, and is very effective in doing so.
Reinhart has some offensive potential. He has a booming slapshot and excellent wrist shot which he unleashes from the point. Reinhart makes quality passes both as part of his team’s breakout, and in the offensive zone. Reinhart also has excellent offensive instincts and hockey sense, as he is quick to exploit gaps in opponent’s teams defensive coverage and chooses the right moments to pinch in. Reinhart could use some work on his stickhandling and puck control as he is merely average in this area.
Reinhart is also an average skater. His stride is choppy and he lacks the high end speed that other defensive prospects in this draft possess. This has sometimes given him trouble in dealing with small, quick forwards, especially early in the year, but this has gotten better as the season progressed.
Reinhart really came into his own when teammate Mark Pysyk was away playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. Reinhart has been excellent in the second half of the season and in the WHL playoffs, and his improvement into a shut down defender has been instrumental in the Oil Kings’ long winning streak. Reinhart’s game reminds us of Adam Foote, and if he can reach his potential he can certainly have as big an impact for the team that drafts him as Foote had for the Avalanche over his NHL career. He absolute max ceiling may even be higher, as Reinhart has some untapped offensive potential in him as well.
… and thats the Last Word.