The Edmonton Oilers recalled Griffin Reinhart this afternoon, he will no doubt replace Brandon Davidson on the active roster (no update on Davidson at this point). It is an interesting recall, and as mentioned this morning, this was not a slam dunk. Peter Chiarelli and Oilers management wanted to see some progress in areas of his play—including skating, coverage and confidence:
- Oilers assistant coach Jim Johnson on Reinhart: “For him, it’s his skating ability and making sure he feels comfortable enough that he’s not flat-footed. If he’s got good momentum coming back and gaps up well in the offensive zone on offensive rushes, if he does that, I think that will give him a little bit more confidence defending. He’ll get better, he’s a young defenceman.”
- More Johnson: “We’ve got to realize a lot of young defencemen take a long time to develop at this level and we’re going to be patient with him and do it the right way. It’s going to be a lot like Davidson who played a lot of important minutes in the American League, caught up to the pro game and continued his development.”
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 7, 2016
So much has been written about GR, it is almost impossible to talk about him without bias entering the conversation. He is 22, he is not a typical No. 4 overall, and playing in Bakersfield has hopefully allowed him to find that physical edge an consistency. A good way to frame the consistency issues is to re-list my post-game notes from his last three games in the NHL:
- January 23: Eric Gryba—Griffin Reinhart seemed an unlikely pairing but they were extremely effective last night. Now, GR caught the 9-0 Corsi bus with the Leon line, but you can’t explain away the numbers (or the visual). Both men looked good, and I think Gryba is earning another contract (if they can offload Fayne—who I would keep). Reinhart probably goes back to Bakersfield on Monday, maybe he has company on the plane. Source
- February 2: Reinhart—Gryba received the second most minutes among the three pairings, and when together they broke even. Score effects were in play in a major way, and they did have to play some difficult opposition during the game. Oilers Nerd Alert did have this pairing at a rather substantial 71.1/60 Dangerous Fenwick Against, and that is a fascinating item. As you know, I like to use established metrics, but the difference between the two measures last night interests me. Source
- February 7: Reinhart—Schultz was not good (2-6) but we kind of knew that before it started. Credit Todd McLellan with getting them away from each other (played 4:03 together) but Andrej Sekera couldn’t help Schultz either (2-4 in 5:32 together) and of course he couldn’t help other places. Reinhart—Gryba (not listed above) went 2-9 in the true bollocks pairing of the afternoon. Reinhart’s most effective partner this season? Brandon Davidson, and that is something of a trend for the team’s defenders. Source
Skating, consistency, coverage. Same as it ever was. Reinhart is matriculating toward his NHL career, but as we talked about in regard to Darnell Nurse in the fall, there was no reason to place Reinhart ahead of the younger Nurse—and as it turned out, the older Davidson. If Reinhart can show well in the final stretch of the season, he could at the very least create interesting trade scenarios.
YOU IDIOT! YOU KILLED US!
Once again, the NHL’s short-sighted 30 have given fans a hilarious scenario that is completely unintended. The league that gave Sam Pollock the keys to the 1970s, has now given the Edmonton Oilers a very good chance at another (very high) pick. The mind boggles. Since last we talked, the Oilers made some moves at the trade deadline and moved up the standings.
- R Teddy Purcell. Acquired a third-round pick in 2016.
- D Justin Schultz. Acquired a third-round pick in 2016.
- G Anders Nilsson. Acquired a fifth-round pick in 2016.
- D Phil Larsen. Acquired a fifth-round pick in 2017.
- Acquired Patrick Maroon.
By my estimate, Edmonton has 10 selections for 2016 and they are slotted (today) as follows:
- No. 3 overall
- No. 33 overall
- No. 63 overall
- No. 76 overall (Pittsburgh pick)
- No. 81 overall (Florida pick)
No. 93 overall(traded for Patrick Maroon)
- No. 123 overall
- No. 147 overall (St. Louis pick)
- No. 151 overall
- No. 181 overall
The Oilers are extremely unlikely to use all of those selections, I could see No. 33 and No. 63 being used to move up, and do think that first-round pick might be on the move for a defenseman.
LOWETIDE TOP 10
- (1) C Auston Matthews, Zurich Lions (Swiss-A): He went 5gp, 0-6-6 since we last talked, and is 36gp, 24-22-46 according to Elite Prospects. He is described as a high-octane dynamo. He is 6.02, 194 and could be better than Eichel. Could he be 2LW in Edmonton this fall?
- (2) W Patrik Laine, Tappara (Sm-Liiga): Laine went 10gp, 4-2-6 since last ranking, and is 45gp, 17-16-33 in the SM-Liiga. A 6.04, 207 itchy trigger who has a release that scouts rave over. Impact prospect, if Edmonton gets pick No. 1 or No. 2, I don’t think they trade out.
- (3) R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Sm-Liiga): Injured now, he was 7gp, 5-3-8 after we chatted, and before the injury. He is is 50gp, 13-15-28 in the SM-Liiga. Size, speed and creativity, he is a complete forward with the ability to make a difference on offense and defense.
- (4) L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): He is 9gp, 5-17-22 and is 51gp, 25-74-99 overall. He is ripping up the scoring charts in the Ontario league. I cannot decide who is zooming who on his team so have him at No. 4 and will go no farther.
- (5) LD Jacob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting (OHL): He is 9gp, 1-9-10 since we chatted and 59gp, 10-36-46 overall. This is the kind of offensive performance we should be looking for if he is in fact the real good. His NHLE is in the 20-point range (Aaron Ekblad was 24 points NHLE, Darnell Nurse 16 points NHLE).
- (6) LD Mikhail Sergachev, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): He is 11gp, 0-8-8 since we talked, and 62gp, 14-35-49 overall. EP says he is a dominant two-way defenseman. Sergachev is also a fine skater and 6.02, 205—he might be the best defender in the draft. NHLE: 21 points.
- (13) LD Olli Juolevi, London Knights (OHL): Since last we spoke, he is 9gp, 4-3-7 and 51gp, 9-27-46 overall. There is a lot to like: Smooth skater, great passer, and has a wide range of skills. NHLE is 24 points.
- (14) LD Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen (WHL): He is 10gp, 1-9-10 since last talk, and 63gp, 22-37-59 overall. Bean is an effective, creative player with the puck. Intelligent defender with across the board skills, he is not famous like the blue ahead of him but neither was Jared Spurgeon. He is 6.01, 172 and NHLE is 23 points.
- (7)R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): He is 10gp, 2-9-11 since we last looked at things, and 55gp, 28-47-75 45 overall. A slick winger and a lot like his brother. At 6.0, 172, he is the first small forward on the list.
- (10) RD Dante Fabbro, Penticton Vees (BCJHL): He is 5gp, 0-7-7 since last time, and 45gp, 14-53-67 overall. Difficult to compare offenses but my guess is he is a little shy of the men ahead of him. NHLE is 16 points, he has been compared to Brian Rafalski.