Today on the Lowdown I spoke to Michael Fornabaio of the Connecticut Post and Soundin’ Off. Michael covers the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and gave us his impressions of Griffin Reinhart during his year in the AHL. Before we proceed, I want to set the stage for his AHL season by reminding you about Reinhart in junior and specifically in the 2013-14 season and playoffs.
- Megan Richardson: “What is there to say about Griffin Reinhart? Here’s a guy who played probably every even strength shift against the Petan line or the De Leo line, two monster entry and possession lines. At the beginning of the regular season, those six players carried the puck in an average of 84% of the time. And yet, playing against that top competition, he had the greatest percentage of break-ups and fewest shot attempts against per entry of all Edmonton’s defensemen, rivaled only by Irving, who played cupcake minutes. To see the true impact he had on entries, we can look at his defensive partner Ashton Sautner, no slouch himself, and see how he got burned. After seeing this, I don’t disagree with his choice as MVP of the series.” Source
- How did he look over the year and did he improve? “I thought he did improve. I did see progress. A lot of people look at that No. 4 overall and expected too much. He’s a player who has that size, they wanted him to get a bit more aggressive (in Bridgeport) and sometimes he was able to do that, sometimes players were able to beat him. Over the course of the season I saw learned his way, figured things out and was making some adaptations.”
- On playing in the AHL: “Sometimes it’s easier to defend in the NHL because everyone else is in the right place so you can do your own thing. I wonder if that was an issue. He came down (to Bridgeport) after the first couple games on the Island and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a player as determined to get back up there (to the NHL). At that time he came out and said I want to be an NHL player and want to show that I’m an NHL player. “
- On his role in the AHL: “He did get some second power-play time and maybe a little bit on the first unit when guys were out, but yeah he was on the top pairing and playing against the other team’s top line. Got a lot of PK time as well. He was playing against a lot of the top players.”