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David Reinbacher Scouting Report: 2023 NHL Draft #11

HALIFAX, CANADA - DECEMBER 30: David Reinbacher #5 of Team Austria skates against Team Germany during the first period in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship at Scotiabank Centre on December 30, 2022 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Team Germany defeated Team Austria 4-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson 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”! Today we bring you our David Reinbacher Scouting Report.

The 2023 NHL draft class is a loaded one. From the top with Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli, it is arguably one of the best classes in recent memory. Most of the top-end of this draft are forwards, but that does not mean there aren’t good defenders for the taking. Today, Last Word will be looking at David Reinbacher.

David Reinbacher Scouting Report

Right Defence — shoots Right
Born October 25th, 2004 — Hohenems, Austria
Height 6’2″ — Weight 185 lbs [188 cm / 84 kg]


David Reinbacher, born in Hohenems, Austria, is a right-shot defender playing in the Swiss National League (NL). The 6’2” and 187 pound defender currently plays for EHC Kloten, where he has spent parts of the last two seasons. So far this season, he has recorded three goals and 19 assists for 22 points in 46 games. Over those last two seasons, he has produced four goals and 29 assists for 33 points across 73 contests against men.

With those solid numbers for a young blueliner playing in the top Swiss league, it’s no wonder why he has been a consistently ranked first-round prospect. Sites and experts have him ranked between 11th and 35th. To be exact, he’s ranked 11th by SportsNet, 12th by Elite Prospects, 15th by The Hockey News, 16th by Daily Faceoff, 19th by Smaht Scouting, 20th by FCHockey and Bob McKenzie, 26th by McKeen’s Hockey and Craig Button, 27th by Draft Prospects Hockey, 28th by Dobber Prospects, and 35th by Recruit Scouting.

David Reinbacher Deep Dive

Being ranked anywhere between 11th and 35th is a pretty clearly wide range. Top-15 all the way down to an early second. Why is there so much separation? What makes him so intriguing to some versus what brings pause to others?

Reinbacher’s Skating 

Reinbacher is a very intriguing skater. When watching him skate, his straight-line abilities point out a few things. For one, he has a really strong technique. His ankle and knee flexion is as good as it gets, and his stride extensions are excellent. What that means is he maximizes each and every stride that he takes. That fact will make NHL skating coaches salivate, as his technical abilities are near-perfect.

However, that doesn’t mean he is a world-class skater. He does not possess very good speed. He is above average for his 6’2” and 187-pound frame, but generally, he is average to below average in that department. Additionally, he lacks quality edges and acceleration. He loses speed in his turns and, while technically sound, he does not have a strong first few strides. Now, because of his strong technical abilities, these things should work themselves out. Especially with good coaching. This area could be where the discrepancy lies, but if experts are knocking him that much for poor skating, they’re over-analyzing a coachable flaw.

Offensive Abilities

When analyzing Reinbacher’s offensive game, he becomes even more intriguing. What makes a good offensive defenseman? The innate ability to get shots on the net from the point, the confidence to step up into the play, and strong vision and quarterbacking skills to set up plays consistently. Reinbacher has the uncanny ability to hit the net consistently, regardless of the amount of traffic at the net front. Not only that, but he almost always puts the puck in the perfect spot, allowing for redirect opportunities or rebounds to be created.

As for the confidence to step up into the play, Reinbacher clearly improved throughout the year. He’s not one to abandon his spot at this point, but he became increasingly comfortable picking his spots and making plays. The exact same could be said about his playmaking abilities. He has made some eye–opening passes to set-up teammates throughout the year, though not super consistent. It’s clear the raw skills are there, and he is slowly displaying it more and more.

Shooting Ability

As mentioned above, Reinbacher’s shooting ability is what really stood out. Don’t just take this writer’s word for it either. Here’s a visual from Mitch Brown and Lassi Alanen on Reinbacher’s shot contributions compared to prospects from 2017 to 2023 (he ranks top-20).

Joe Maciag of Recruit Scouting had this to say about Reinbacher’s shot:

“The trademark of his offensive game is his effective shot which is able to find the net through any screen and can be a real problem for netminders. Not only this but Reinbacher is extremely consistent in his placement of his shot as he either goes mid glove or mid blocker. We see Reinbacher mainly shoot from his favoured right defence shot but can play as a central point player as shown by the shot map below. Furthermore, the map shows the effectiveness of Reinbacher’s shot when on the man advantage as his shots make it to the net 66% of the time compared to only 43% when 5 on 5 which is to be expected.”

Playmaking Ability

As for his playmaking ability, it is still raw and a work in progress. As Reinbacher sees an improvement in his skating, his confidence with and without the puck will not only improve but so will his effectiveness with the puck on his stick. Corey Pronman touched on that a bit when he posted his 2023 Draft Prospects tier list-esque article back in March. Pronman said, “His offensive touch isn’t elite, but he’s creative with the puck and sees the ice well.”

Also, going back to Brown and Alonen’s data, Reinbacher ranks third amongst all European defence prospects from 2017-2023 in “Passer Rating.” Their passer rating data measures their passes based on the value of the pass, the difficulty to complete it, and the results it led to.

David Reinbacher’s Transitional Abilities

When it comes to transitioning the puck, this aspect is becoming more and more important for defenders. With the likes of Victor Hedman and Erik Karlsson in the early 2010s to the Cale Makar’s and Adam Fox’s of today (and still Karlsson and Hedman, of course), the focus is certainly geared towards a defender’s ability to move the puck.

In this aspect, Reinbacher is effective. He is not flashy by any means, but he displays confidence in the form of not shying away from skating the puck up the ice himself. But with that confidence, he also has an understanding. It’s very rare to see Reinbacher force a pass or attempt to skate through traffic. His IQ and awareness with the puck are on full display in this area. He’ll never bite off more than he can chew, and while that limits his ceiling, it makes him all the more valuable to NHL coaches.

Diving Deeper Into The Transitional Numbers

But just how effective is Reinbacher? In 15 tracked games by Alonen and Brown, Reinbacher had a controlled exit percentage of 82.69%. That means that, in exits that he directly was involved in, 82.69% exited the defensive zone with control. Meanwhile, he also recorded a 64.15% controlled entry percentage. Across 15 games, it is very clear that Reinbacher is consistently successful at getting the puck moving up the ice more often than he doesn’t.

While his transitional game is by no means “elite” or flashy, his IQ, vision, and timing allow him to make things happen. It may not always be noticeable game-to-game, but he gets his job done. That comes without mentioning the fact that his skating holds him back as an individual, carrying the puck up the ice himself. If he can improve his skating speed and acceleration, Reinbacher has every tool in the toolbox to be a successful puck mover at the next level.

Reinbacher’s Defensive Zone Play

Consistently, throughout this report, the term “not flashy” has been thrown around. That’s because Reinbacher is a responsible, smart and effective shutdown guy more than he is a pace-pushing, offensively-oriented player. He focuses more on what he needs to do, as a defender, to prevent the opposing team from generating scoring chances. He does just that. Initially, he does an excellent job against the rush. His gap control is excellent and he consistently forces plays out wide and away from the slot. Once the opposing team establishes possession, he still does an excellent job preventing plays from getting into high-danger areas.

However, there are some improvements that can be made. While he is positionally sound and takes away the middle quite effectively, there are moments when he can get caught floating and puck-watching. If the opposing team has possession for an extended period, there are moments where he stands still and can lose his man. Not just that, but to go back to his rush defence, he can struggle against faster players. His edge work prevents him from opening up and sticking with shiftier and more mobile forwards if they’re able to get a step on him. But again, his skating is a coachable flaw.

David Reinbacher’s Potential

Reinbacher has one consistent flaw that is extremely fixable in his game. It is the final piece of his puzzle that can unlock his full potential. That is his skating. More specifically, his top speed, edges and acceleration. With his skating stride technically sound, NHL-level skating coaches should be able to work out the kinks in his skating.

That being said, he is a toolsy player in the offensive zone, with some limitations in terms of style and also his skating. But even with those, he has still proven to be effective. Add to that his overall effectiveness and smarts in transition, and you have a very strong puck-mover in Reinbacher as well. Those traits are all tied together with a reliable and consistent defensive ability. Reinbacher should be an NHL defender one day, barring a major step back. His potential screams top-four.

NHL Comparison 

As for comparisons, there have been some ties to Ryan McDonagh thrown out there. Brett Pesce was another name used by Pronman. But this writer believes Reinbacher, based on style alone, compares well to Colton Parayko. Parayko, using CJ Turtoro’s A3Z player performance tool, is in the 80th percentile of defenders from 2016-2020 for individual shots and the 47th percentile in shot assists. He also maintained a strong effectiveness in transitional data in that span. Knowing how Reinbacher plays and what his strengths and style are, he does compare favourably to a defender such as Colton Parayko.


Tracked Stats from Lassi Alonen and Mitch Brown

Transitional Data via CJ Turtoro’s A3Z Player Performance Tool

Raw stats via Elite Prospects

Main photo: Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images


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