On the weekend he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, I had the opportunity to ask Griffin Reinhart a few questions. One of them pertained to his 2014-15 performance in the Islanders system and with the big club:
- Griffin Reinhart on his first year of pro hockey: “I think it was a little inconsistent, I had stretches where I wasn’t playing very well and maybe a little bit frustrated and disappointed maybe I wasn’t up in the big league but when I was playing well I played extremely well and was able to keep up—especially in some of the games I got to play up in the NHL. I thought I handled myself well and it’s always a confidence booster when you do play well at that level.”
I think you could take that quote and apply it accurately to Reinhart’s season in 2015-16—and that is a concern. It is also true the Oilers have several lefties in the system, two of whom—Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart—are attempting to transition at the same time.
Earlier in the spring, I asked on this blog if we were certain that Darnell Nurse’s performance at the NHL level was clearly superior to Reinhart’s, and most responses (that I read) felt Nurse had a better year. Let’s have a quick look at the comparison.
Both men finished well (Reinhart was 51.1 Corsi for 5×5 percentage between March 21 and April 8; Nurse was 51.2 5×5 in his final four games) and both men trail Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Brandon Davidson in all major areas of measurement. I am still wondering about these two young blue, and the best way to proceed. I mean, if you want to keep one of them, is there something math can tell us? What if the trade value is there for one of those players this summer?
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 26, 2015
I wonder if this is an itch Peter Chiarelli may try to scratch this summer. If not Dougie Hamilton, perhaps Tyson Barrie? Food for thought, and I bet you Darnell Nurse has extreme value—even after this season. So, two questions for you:
- What is the gap in ability, in your opinion, between these two players?
- Assuming both men are slotted behind Klefbom, Sekera and Davidson LHD on the depth chart, are you open to trading one of them in a deal to improve RHD—even if ‘one of them’ means Nurse?
- Corey Pronman on Nurse and Reinhart: “There’s a small gap (between the two) I like Nurse a lot, he edges Reinhart in my opinion. There’s also an age difference between the two—Reinhart has already played one year of pro—I think they’re similar in terms of proximity to the NHL, they’re both on the bubble. I think Nurse has a little more of a dynamic element to his game. Nurse’s skating is a little bit better and they both project as good defensive players, I think Nurse can bring a little more offense to the NHL.” Source
If you are of a certain vintage, this photo brings back a pile of memories. K-Tel routinely (four times a year? Don’t remember) packed much of the recent Top 40 into an instant greatest hits collection and we all bought it like madmen. Some of us, those with a paper route, also purchased the record selector, but honestly I broke mine within an hour.
Corey Pronman has his 100 list out for the 2016 draft, I read it with the same verve and anticipation once applied to Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption. I have mentioned this before, but Pronman’s gifts are multiple: He does in fact appear to have a handle on the draft, he writes in an informative an enjoyable manner, and he offers actual nuance.
- Corey Pronman on Greg Chase, pre-draft: Chase entered the season with a decent amount of hype and he figured to make a push to be drafted in the top two rounds. While he was somewhat underwhelming, his skills make him worth knowing, the best of which is his hockey sense. Scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent. His skating earns divided opinions, with one scout calling it a positive, and another saying his first steps can be a tad sluggish. His physical game and consistency are areas of concern as well. He has average size, but he does not tend to be imposing with his board work. Finally, his game-to-game on-ice work ethic could use improvement, especially in the defensive end.
That is a fantastic scouting report in 150 words. That is basically all we have time for in today’s world, and I walked away with a pretty good idea about young Mr. Chase. A scouting report can’t tell you if a player will make it, but it can tell you if there is more than one way for him to do it. It can also indicate any potentially catastrophic issues (Chase had none, even the skating was not hopeless) and we wait to see how the story turns out. There are some surprises—Pronman holds Tyler Benson’s value where many other lists have flagged him—and we will discuss the list with Corey on the Lowdown tomorrow.
There are no rumors out there, but for me the Columbus Blue Jackets make a tremendous amount of sense as a trade partner for Edmonton. Aside from being in cap hell, the Jackets have:
- RHD David Savard, who would be a very nice fit for the Oilers.
- RHD Seth Jones, who would also be a terrific—if young—addition.
- F Boone Jenner, a rugged scoring forward who can play center.
- L Kerby Rychel, a gritty forward with some skill.
- R Oliver Bjorkstrand, a dandy skill winger the Oilers could have drafted in 2013.
WELL, SHIT. GUY CLARK
— John Asher (@johnasher) May 17, 2016
My Dad was almost 50 when I was born. He gave me baseball, a love of laughter, and country music. I cannot tell you why Guy Clark’s songs moved me, only that what he wrote spoke to me and that I will always cherish Desperadoes Waiting for a Train. Whatever the connection, it will last a lifetime.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A short show today, we have just one hour before Canada-Finland live on TSN 1260. My friend Jonathan Willis will drop in, we will discuss the Raptors, the NHL playoffs and how to fix that damnable blue without sacrificing the Nuge.