The Edmonton Oilers tracked Griffin Reinhart all year long. The young man played in the scouting staff’s back yard and in management’s office. The opportunity was there to impress, and he did. It was an extreme advantage for Reinhart and the benefit for the organization might be this: Reinhart’s improvement from September to March was exceptional.
- 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).”
- Craig Button: Griffin may be a diamond in the rough but he possesses the carats of a unique player. He has a an excellent understanding of the game with a composure and patience that may suggest a lack of urgency but don’t be confused, his competitive waters run deep and he’s capable of being aggressive and assertive when necessary. He is a very good skater with strong balance and agility and along with his size, he is extremely difficult to break down 1-1 and gain an advantage on. He uses his body effectively and doesn’t lose position and is capable of punishing opponents. His vision is very good, he sees the play unfolding, knows what his options are and is capable of doing this very quickly. He makes very good plays in all areas of the game and ones that gain advantages for his team. His offensive skills continue to evolve and he is increasingly confident creating offense. Griffin has an assuredness in his play and along with his skill and physical attributes, makes him a player who has a chance to be an impact player in the NHL.
Reinhart has his father’s toughness, an example being this tweet from the end of his season:
- 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.
- Reinhart will be remembered mostly for the players Edmonton passed over to take him. That’s a tough cross to bear.
- I have no quarrel with the scouting staff. They trusted their board, that’s the job.
- Those who suggest Edmonton made a mistake today have an extremely strong case. If the Oilers felt Reinhart was the man, dealing down was the move. This is the kind of asset management that losing teams do over and over again. Not recognizing the situation tells us the Oilers are not strong in the front office. This lands squarely on Steve Tambellini. Inertia.
- I think the Oilers love him to bits.
- This is a draft for need. We shouldn’t allow the verbal to sway elsewhere.
- If you don’t like the pick, fine. But I would like to take a moment to urge fans not to hold it against Griffin Reinhart. The kid didn’t ask to get drafted #1, and lord knows he’s an important piece of the future. Take your rage out on management, or the scouts, or something else.
- He’ll be here next week.
- The reasons Edmonton passed on Yakupov were not available via numbers or the viewings of a fan. Whatever his shortcomings, if he pops 25 goals next season it’ll be very difficult to write a script that puts this Oilers draft in a positive light.
- Welcome to the Edmonton Oilers, Griffin Reinhart! I sincerely hope you enjoy hit. A quick word of advice: rock someone in your first game, just lay them out. It’ll help, believe me.
- Stu MacGregor and his staff walk on water in this town, and certainly on this blog. They must absolutely love this player if they’ve made this selection. Hopefully it all works out. I think the scouts’ reputation will suffer.
- 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.
STU MACGREGOR on REINHART
- “It’s almost like he got a bit more determined and decided he was going to show people he is a high-end prospect. Not to say that he wasn’t, but he’s growing into his body and now he’s getting that physical strength that young kids with his size don’t always have right away because they are tall and lanky.”
I believe that’s your story right there, ladies and gentlemen.