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Sam Rinzel Scouting Report: 2022 NHL Draft #46

Sam Rinzel Scouting Report

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 2022 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 Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Sam Rinzel Scouting Report.

Sam Rinzel bounced around a bit during his draft season. He started the year playing for Team USA in the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. Rinzel was held off the scoresheet in four tournament games. Drafted in the second round, #18 overall, by the Waterloo Black Hawks in the 2021 USHL Draft, Sam Rinzel had an excellent rookie season. The defenceman had two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 21 regular-season games. Unfortunately, he was kept scoreless in six playoff games.

Rinzel also played for Chaska High School, playing high school hockey in Minnesota. He scored nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points in 27 games. He also played for Team SIT Financial Services in the UMHSEHL. Rinzel scored four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in 18 regular-season games. He added three assists in three playoff games. Rinzel also played on the MNHP circuit. He put up two goals and three assists for five points in six games.

Rinzel is committed to attending the University of Minnesota and playing NCAA Hockey for the Golden Gophers next season. Rinzel attended the recent NHL Draft Combine at the Harborfront Centre in Buffalo, New York.

Sam Rinzel Scouting Report

Right Defence — shoots Right
Born June 25th, 2004 — Chanhassen, Minnesota
Height 6’3.25″ — Weight 180 lbs [191 cm/81 kg]


Rinzel’s two-way game is based on his excellent skating. He has a good first step and his stride is long and powerful. This helps Rinzel generate excellent speed and acceleration. His speed and acceleration are also very good in his backwards skating. Rinzel has very good agility and edgework. His lateral movement allows him to walk the line and create shooting and passing lanes in the offensive zone. It also helps him to maintain good gap control and force attackers to the outside when defending against the rush. His crisp pivots allow Rinzel to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Rinzel also has decent balance and is strong on his skates. He wins his battles on the boards and in front of the night. Rinzel looks slight though. As he gains muscle and matures these aspects of his game will continue to improve.

Offensive Game

Rinzel is excellent in transition. He marries his skating ability with very good hands. As a result, he can lead the rush through the neutral zone. Rinzel can beat a defender wide and cut back to the middle of the ice. He is a riverboat gambler at times, willing to get deep in the zone to make a play. It is not unusual for Rinzel to take the puck right to the net. Defenders have to back off to deal with his speed and this opens up passing and shooting lanes. He can use a defender as a screen and fire a wrist shot at the net. He can also use the added space to set up a teammate for a scoring chance. Rinzel is able to gain the zone efficiently to set up the play.

Once set up in the zone, Rinzel’s game is a bit of a work in progress. He sometimes makes good use of his lateral agility to open up shooting and passing lanes, but it isn’t something he does often enough. At times he can create turnovers by trying to pass the puck through too tight of a passing lane. He also has a tendency to fire the puck at the net without first making sure he has a shooting lane. This can lead to his shot being blocked and the other team creating in transition. Rinzel’s shot is good but not great. His slap shot and wrist shot show above-average power and accuracy but there is still room for some improvement. As he bulks up, Rinzel may be able to generate more power in his shots.

Defensive Game

Much like the offensive game, Rinzel’s defensive game is a work in progress. With his strong skating and good reach, he maintains good gap control and forces attackers outside against the rush. He is also willing to be physical. While not a big hitter, he will get involved in battles for the puck and play a robust game. Rinzel needs to work on his play away from the puck though. He can be undisciplined, watching and getting after the puck carrier instead of staying with his man. This can lead to his man being open to take a pass and get a scoring chance. Much of this can be helped with good coaching as well as work in the film room.

Projection and Comparison

Rinzel has high-end potential and it is seen in his size, skating, and ability to play in transition both offensively and defensively. However, his game is very raw. He needs work when the puck is in the zone, both in the offensive and defensive end. Rinzel has only really played half of a season at a high level in the USHL. Besides that, he’s played at levels of hockey where his skills have dominated, and no one else on the ice can really match him. This means he hasn’t been challenged to play strategically to this point in his career. He needs time to work with good coaches and can really improve in the next few years.

Rinzel is a bit of a project who will need two to three years in the NCAA and then some time in the AHL. However, he could end up as a top-four defenceman if he continues to develop. Rinzel’s game is reminiscent of Brent Burns, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.


The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Sam Rinzel that are available on youtube and Twitter.


Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.


Sam Rinzel Scouting Report Main Photo:


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