The name Oiler fans hear most often from the organization in regard to the #1 overall pick (beyond Nail and Murray) is Griffin Reinhart. Why? I think it has a lot to do with his specific skill set. Edmonton is looking for a Griffin Reinhart type, if not the real thing.

Paul Reinhart--Griffin's Dad--played a similar style to his son

Scouting Report

  • Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus: What separates him from other big defensemen is that he has the puck skills to make people miss, execute all the little plays in tight quarters, and to deliver crisp, accurate passes consistently. Reinhart also has a more aggressive offensive element to his game as he will join the rush and doesn’t shy from being creative in the offensive end of the rink. He also has a pretty big shot from the point that he can put a lot of his big frame into. The thing that has seen Reinhart establish himself so well in the industry has been his improvements.
  • Grant McCagg, tsn: Strengths: Very few 6-4 blueliners can skate and handle the puck like Reinhart, and those attributes alone will intrigue lots of scouts. Has a hard point shot that often finds its mark, good passing skills. Weaknesses: Does not always play with an abundance of passion and drive. Could be more assertive physically, and more consistent in his effort.
  • BJ MacDonald, central scouting: “He’s got nice, soft hands for a big defenseman, can run the power play and has a big shot — both the wrist shot and slapper. He moves the puck as well as anyone in this year’s draft and I like the way he thinks the game. He’s got a nice pro style that will make for an easier transition to the (NHL).”

Reinhart has his father’s toughness, an example being this tweet from earlier today:


  1. Ryan Murphy 10-21-31
  2. Cam Fowler 4-21-25
  3. Morgan Rielly 4-21-25
  4. Dougie Hamilton 4-17-21
  5. Brandon Gormley 4-14-18
  6. Ryan Murray 5-12-17
  7. Nathan Beaulieu 4-12-16
  8. Griffin Reinhart 5-10-15
  9. Erik Gudbranson 1-13-14


  • Strong defender with an aggressive nature and displayed that physical element the Oilers are apparently looking to add to their current stable of blue.
  • Reinhart is a good puck mover, and a solid junior player at evens. I don’t think he’ll ever be a PP option in the NHL but is regarded as a strong PK player.
  • He can play defense.


  • Reinhart is not the type of player who ordinarily covers the bet for a lottery selection. A player like Luke Schenn had many of the same tools as Reinhart, and several years later a re-draft would no doubt send Schenn down the list.
  • He is not a complete defenseman, as his offensive potential is limited.
  • That shoulder injury–and his playing through it–remind us of his position and the injuries that are so commonplace for defensemen.


  • I think the Oilers love him to bits. If you hear “Carolina trades the 8th overall pick to Edmonton” I’d bet a pile of money it will be for this guy.
  • During the Memorial Cup there was some chatter that he might come right away and be a plug and play defender, but that’s a terrible idea. He’ll need to develop in junior and then push for a job once he turns pro.


Also in the series:



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  1. speeds says:

    If you hear “Carolina trades the 8th overall pick to Edmonton” I’d bet a pile of money it will be for this guy.

    It might be more interesting to check out the blogs and boards if they traded up and picked Yakupov and Teravainen, I’m guessing that would upset some who want (a) a D picked and (b) those looking for size.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Teravainen is such an interesting player. I’ve been reading up on Finland and once again they have produced a couple of really fascinating prospects.

  3. speeds says:

    He’s small, very skilled, supposedly was improving like crazy during the year, 5 days from being in the 2013 draft, from Finland.

    Is there any way he DOESN’T crack your top 5 LT?

  4. mattwatt says:

    Saw Griffin play once this season. Remember the first two periods of the game well. The third period…..well that damned cursed elixir known as booze drew me in to its grasp. I was lost. Funny how I was not mad about it though.

    Can see where scouts are questioning his work ethic somewhat. During the game, he was in weird places on the ice and sometimes the 3rd man coming back. Few moments were you just scratched your head and wondering what he was doing. His stride was not the best either, his feet were a bit wonky at times. Take that last sentence for what it is worth; my skating style has been described as “Bambi on ice,” so what do I know. Jay Bouwmeester also skates a bit wonky but he has been playing for quite awhile now so maybe it does not matter.

    However, it was not all bad. There is far more good to his game. Handles the puck really well for a big guy, and enough cannot be said about his frame. He also moved around well on the ice for his size. Lastly, coach was not afraid to use him. A lot, and in all facets of the game. Him and Gernat were out there a bunch in the game I saw, and it was not hard to see why. Both were the best Oil King d-man during the contest; just better players than the rest of the rearguards on the team. Only one game I know, but certainly noticeable on that night.

    This to mean highlights the problem with picking defenseman though. I did not see enough from Reinhart that made feel good either way. He has a lot of things in his favor that make me think he could be something special, and then he has a few traits that make me go meh. Glad I am not left with the task.

    Because I would take Nail number 1. Too much good, not enough bad. Furthermore, he has been saying all the things the Oilers love: wants to play in the NHL, only cares about winning, loves to work for his success, etc.. More I hear, more I think he was made to be picked by this Oilers brass. Could certainly not be the best player out of this draft, that is possible, but seems to have the best odds of being something good-to-great. Doesn’t that alone put him above these defensemen with question marks?

    Aside, Gernat looked super-good to me that night I watched the Oil Kings. Smart, made a lot of the right plays at both ends, did a good job killing penalties, smart on the powerplay, saw the ice well, just a good game. Many talk about the chaos in his game, but that night he was anything but. Hope it was not his game of the year and I saw it, but damn was still something to behold. If saw-him-good means anything (and I tend to be one that thinks it means a bit but not a lot), I saw him really good that night. Here is hoping.

    LT, do those who watched Gernat over the year see marked improvement in his game, or that he practically stayed the same as the season went along? Would like to know what Bruce and others have to say.

    And keep up the good work. You are a hell of man doing one hell of a job.

  5. Lowetide says:

    My list right now (and it will change, always does):

    1. Yakupov
    2. Murray
    3. Galchenyuk
    4. Grigorenko
    5. Reinhart
    6. Teravainen
    7. Rielly
    8. Forsberg
    9. Dumba

  6. bookje says:

    What if we hear “Edmonton trades the 1st overall pick to Carolina for the 8 th overall pick and Justin Krueger and Keegan Lowe”?

    I would love to see that just to see the Oilogosphere simultaneously explode.

    and then I would be very sad…

  7. LMHF#1 says:

    I’m guessing my opinion on this is already known, but I’ll say as of now he appears to be the most overrated player in the draft. Being drafted that high when you’re not a complete package defenceman is rather crazy. Just didn’t it from him.

  8. Captain Obvious says:

    Lowetide is usually the voice of reason but that list has a lot of low ceiling types. Forsberg, Murray, and Reinhart are all too high.

    Based upon what people have said I’m fairly confident that the top five NHL players from that list are Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko, Teravainen, and Reilly.

    The other guys don’t have the same kind of star potential.

    Rishaug was on Gregor’s show today and he kept on saying the scouting comparison for Murray is Karl Alzner (spelling?). That is not someone you wasted a top five pick on.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Captain Obvious:
    Lowetide is usually the voice of reason but that list has a lot of low ceiling types.Forsberg, Murray, and Reinhart are all too high.

    Based upon what people have said I’m fairly confident that the top five NHL players from that list are Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko, Teravainen, and Reilly.

    The other guys don’t have the same kind of star potential.

    Rishaug was on Gregor’s show today and he kept on saying the scouting comparison for Murray is Karl Alzner (spelling?).That is not someone you wasted a top five pick on.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Bob McKenzie’s list looks like. He said tonight Reinhart is trending into the top 5 and Murray is already there.

  10. Rondo says:

    I heard he was a slow skater, relatively speaking.

  11. Clay says:

    He’s got a shoulder injury? Sign him up! Natural-born Oiler, obviously.

  12. regwald says:

    I think the thing with Reinhart is he has a bit of an awkward stride. I do like his physical play, although commented above, he doesn’t bring it every night. I saw 6 playoff games in person and I was impressed with his increased level with each series.

    I also am becoming a fan of Gernat. I’ve seen him have a bad game, but more often than not his puck skills generate chances, he jumps up to make a shot and is an excellent passer. I know Pronman like Marincin better than Gernat, I sure do like how Gernat’s game is looking.

  13. Lowetide says:

    The thing about Gernat is that he’s still so young. When I saw him early the wheels impressed me and then the next time it was his physical play. He has a nice range of skills, but he’ll need to be consistent and avoid injury just like every other defenseman not named Orr, Potvin, Lidstrom etc.

  14. sliderule says:

    The chaos in Gernats game is in his offensive aggression.You can teach a player to overcome this.

    He has wonderful offensive vision which you cannot teach you are born with.

    In the games I watched he rarely turned the puck over but did get trapped several times going the wrong way.If you have the skating skill which he has you can teach him how to correct this.

  15. regwald says:

    LT and Sliderule,

    Definitely like the wheels Gernat has for sure. I also like how he sneaks in back door on the PP. Another asset that is amazing is watching him back pedal across the blueline on the PP to move the defenders and then he makes a great pass to someone in the open.

    The kid has puckskills – he can stickhandle in traffic and has the moves to beat a defender coming in off the wall. Lots to like here.

    Back to Reinhart, I did see a bit of a nasty streak. Especially in the last two WHL series. He stepped up his physical play and delivered a few really crushing hits. Made the opposing forwards shy away from his side. He brings that more and more and that will allow him to make a name for himself coming into the NHL.

    Oh ya and one more thing about Reinhart. Think it was from the Oil Kings twitter feed. In a post-game media scrum Laxdal was quoted as saying that Reinhart may not be back on the Oil Kings next year, because depending who drafts him, Laxdal felt that Reinhart might be able to step into an NHL line-up in October (that is if we have hockey again this year).

  16. regwald says:

    Not sure if anyone saw the news about Gaborik. He has a torn labrum and is headed for surgery this off season. For all those Hemsky haters out there, you will now have someone else to compare his recovery timeline against. Although, Hemsky did have both shoulders fixed. Likewise, Horcoff had the same surgery.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Agree completely. I do wonder about the signability thing at some level, because an athlete who can make more money out of the gate and who can’t call his shot would certainly be a danger. But Yakupov doesn’t have to worry about going to OKC and he certainly would be joining an outstanding opportunity in Edmonton. Plus the money and fame the NHL offers are second to none in hockey.

    As for disliking the selection based on his being Russian, or Muslim? Well that’s another matter and this blog is not the place for that kind of discussion.


  18. Lowetide says:

    Bohologo: I have a friend from Russia and asked him about Nail Yakupov. This friend grew up in Moscow and has some crazy Kremlin stories. Anyway, he told me that the part of Russia Yakupov is from is a world away from the Russians we’re used to seeing in the NHL like Ovechkin (Moscow) or Malkin (Magnitogorsk).

    So it’ll be an education. He seems like a really good kid though from the interviews I’ve seen. I don’t think there’s a lick of evidence he’ll bolt.

    As for baseball, God yes!

  19. Acumen says:

    “I’m Muslim, I’m not Russian.”

    This is cool, and very interesting from a NHL marketing perspective. Biggots notwithstanding, there could be a huge following for a star who outwardly and actively identifies himself as a Muslim.

    and regarding this:

    “I’ve been droning on a little too much about Russia on these pages of late, so I’ll avoid reader fatigue and say this: Russia’s a tremendously diverse place. Ethnically, religiously, politically, historically, geographically, and meterologically. Probably also astrologically. Not unlike Canada. Yakupov promises to be a vivid thread in an already rich tapestry, both that of his birthplace, and that of the game.”

    Preach on. Loudly. So everybody hears, even if they get a little pissy at you. :)

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