2014 NHL Draft Profile #2: Sam Reinhart

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Updated: April 3, 2014
KELOWNA, BC - DECEMBER 7: Sam Reinhart #23 of the Kootenay Ice skates against the Kelowna Rockets on December 7, 2013 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.   (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players.  Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2014 NHL Draft.  Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports!  Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2014 Draft Articles Click here.

TopShelfProspects Sam Reinhart is the youngest of three sons of former Calgary Flames defenceman Paul Reinhart. His oldest brother Max Reinhart was a third round pick of the Flames, and the middle brother, Griffin Reinhart, was a fourth overall pick by the New York Islanders in 2012. Even with such great bloodlines, Sam Reinhart might be the best of the bunch. Its been a whirlwind 12 months for Sam, as he captained Team Canada to the U18 IIHF World Championships Gold Medal last spring, scored 105 points in 60 games for the Kootenay Ice this season, played at the World Juniors over Christmas, and raised his game to another level, scoring 17 points in Kootenay’s six-game first round upset of the Calgary Hitmen. Coming up so clutch against a top level junior team has Reinhart closing the gap with Aaron Ekblad for the number one pick in my rankings, it really is something that can almost go either way between one and two (and three as we’ll see tomorrow).

Sam Reinhart
Center — shoots Right
Born Nov 6 1995 — Vancouver, BC
Height 6.01 — Weight 183 [185 cm/83 kg]

Sam Reinhart is in his third season with the Kootney Ice and has been a big time producer since he got there. Reinhart has excellent hockey sense and vision.  He seems to know where the puck is going before it gets there and finds the openings in the defence. He has excellent stickhandling and puck protection skills, which when coupled with his good vision and passing make him an excellent playmaker.  Reinhart is one of those special types of centres who has the ability to make his linemates better.  He is very unpredictable, when a goalie is thinking shot he makes the perfect pass to a teammate to give them a wide open net, and if a goalie cheats towards the pass, he’ll put the puck in the back of the net. While his shot could be a little harder and should get there as he gains muscle, but he is deadly accurate and has a great release that fools goaltenders.  Reinhart has shown the ability to protect the puck on the cycle and is willing to play in the dirty areas of the ice in order to score points. He’s a natural leader who seems to get a “letter” wherever he goes, whether it be Kootenay or Team Canada.

Reinhart has excellent skating skill. His speed, acceleration, agility, and balance are all top notch. Reinhart has made his excellent acceleration part of his offensive game. He has the ability to make plays at top speed and so he can control the pace of the game to find openings. When he controls the puck he can speed up or slow the game down and uses this unpredictability to shake defenders and create openings for himself, whether it be a passing or shooting lane.

Reinhart is also good in the defensive end of the ice. He is polished and good on faceoffs. He understands his defensive responsibilities and backchecks hard. He has been used on the penalty kill and is not afraid to block shots. He does a good job of supporting his defencemen down low as well.

Due to his late birthday, Reinhart has already completed three WHL seasons.  He should be NHL ready almost immediately upon being drafted.  He is talented and poised, and with the right development he could be an NHL Superstar.  As far as comparisons go, remember these are about style and not necessarily talent, but he plays the game in a similar way to Jonathan Toews.

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