When it comes to Griffin Reinhart discussions among Oilers fans, opinions are like rear ends: Everybody has one. For Reinhart, a lot of venom has been heading his way for reasons he has no control over, nor should be concerned with at any time.
GRIFFIN REINHART 14-15
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.55 (8th among D)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 9th toughest among D
- Qual Team: 3rd best available among regular D
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 44.6%
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -13.0
- Zone Start: 44.1%
- Zone Finish: 50.0%
- Shots on goal/percentage: 4 shots
- Boxcars: 8GP, 0-1-1
RE 15-16: 27GP, 0-4-4 .148
- Why is there such a range of opinion about him? In a way, Reinhart and the 2012 entry draft are still in the brains of fans and (probably) management. The Oilers made the right choice (Yakupov) but one suspects some or all of the scouting crew and many in management felt it was a mistake.
- What is he? Pronman: “He’s high-end defensively, and average offensively, which is still a pretty good player. He performed well versus men this season in the AHL and could make the Oilers very soon.”
- What role might he eventually play? In an ideal world, I think Reinhart plays LH side on one of the top two pairings, with a mobile, puck-moving partner. Reinhart looks after the coverage issues and his partner scoots to daylight.
- What do you personally like about him? In junior, Reinhart was an outstanding player, a difference maker. He had calm feet, plenty of speed and could also help offensively (although that wasn’t close to his largest asset).
- Can he bring it to the NHL? That’s the million dollar question.
- Peter Chiarelli thinks he’s ready. Yes. Chiarelli: “He’s ready to play and he’s going to be a very good part of our D” and he said it in the hours after acquiring Reinhart.
- Yet you have him playing 27 NHL games next season. Yes. I’m hedging bets and Reinhart, in my opinion, will spend about half of this season in the AHL. The rest will be in Edmonton, some in the press box and some in the actual games.
- Is the major question about his speed? That’s some of it. Reinhart has (as I mentioned) calm feet but it’s important to also have quick reaction and an ability to catch up and close a gap. Calm feet don’t get you much when they’re married to lead feet.
- There are some who say Reinhart is going to bust because the Oilers can’t see past his poor skating. Yes, and honestly betting against the Oilers over the last decade has made a lot of people look extremely smart. For me, I prefer to wait and see if this young man can play at pace and I believe a lot of this season will be exactly about that for the Oilers and Reinhart.
- Is Nurse ahead of him on your depth chart? You’ll have to wait and see. Reinhart is the eighth NHL and fourth AHL defender I’ve covered in the series and there are some number to come this week.
- Including? Nikita Nikitin, Darnell Nurse, Brad Hunt, possibly others.
- Brad Hunt!?? Remember, I’m doing both here. It could be that one or more of those names spends the entire season in the minors.
- If this is intrigue it’s pretty crappy. I have the numbers, and ask you drop by this week to see how the story rolls out.
- Why this song? For me it’s about the struggle of finding normal, whatever that may be. For Reinhart, for the Oilers, for the fans, finding normal—what we used to know as normal—seems so far away. Maybe normal arrives this fall, and maybe Griffin Reinhart is part of it.
- You still think the payment was too dear? Yes. I like Reinhart a lot but for what the Oilers gave up? I don’t hate the trade and absolutely see what Chiarelli was doing with the deal (fast-tracking those picks) but for me it was an overpay.
- I think your RE is a low bar for this player. Hmmm. For me, the veterans still to come (Nikitin, Ference, Gryba) are going to eat a lot of the remaining at-bats. A lot of my RE this year is trying to suss out where the compromises will be, and trying to read Todd McLellan. When you’re trying to predict the actions of a veteran NHL coach in August, bet the veteran.
- In an ideal world, who would you partner Reinhart with? In Edmonton, I’d try Andrej Sekera or Oscar Klefbom. I suspect Justin Schultz will be his partner, but I’m not in favor of it.
- That’s a perfect tandem, puck mover and a strong defender. Maybe three years from now, but both men would be better suited alongside a veteran.
- Islanders gave him tough zone starts. And that is probably his future. If Reinhart is going to be a valuable NHL player, tough zone starts, difficult assignments, plenty of work at evens and PK are likely to be in his future. He may also get some power-play time, but as was the case in junior, the big part of his game is playing defense.