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Rookie Report: Max Reinhart

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- It's only November but the way Kootenay Ice forward Maxwell Reinhart has played through the opening months of the 2011-12 campaign has made it a safe bet to say he is in for a career year.

The 19 year-old was recently named to Team WHL for the Subway Super Series. The squad will square off against an under-20 team from Russia who will play against each major-junior league in North America this month.

Joining him will be his younger brother Griffin, a defenceman for the Edmonton Oil Kings. The lanky blueliner has been added to the roster after Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips suffered a leg injury in October.

While the elder Reinhart will suit up against the Russians in two games, played in Moose Jaw and Regina, Griffin will play in just one contest.

"I really look forward to playing with him and hopefully we get out on the ice a couple times together,"  he told the The Townsman. "I know he's only playing the one game so it'll definitely be an experience that will be positive for both of us."

The Subway Super Series will give the pivot another opportunity to show Hockey Canada brass he belongs on their team once the World Juniors this month. Reinhart was not invited to the summer evaulation camp in Edmonton this summer despite an incredibly strong performance for the Ice last season but according Kootenay head coach Jeff Chynoweth, he is treating his two games with Team WHL as an audtion for the World Juniors.

"I just think this is a chance for him to show the people at Hockey Canada how good a player he really is, because in my opinion, he's one of the premier players in the Western Hockey League," he told the The Cranbrook Bulletin.

"You look at Max Reinhart and what he accomplished last year in the playoffs when the games matter the most, I think there's very few players capable of taking their game to the level he did. And he's just continued that play throughout the start of this season."

While his 2010-11 totals are impressive - 34 goals and 79 points in 71 regular season games, 15 goals and 27 points in 19 postseason outings - his offensive production in the opening months of this campaign indicate he will eclipse the career-highs he set in all categories last year.

To date, he's played in 16 games, notching eight goals and 19 points. He is Kootenay's scoring leader, with a with seven-point lead over runner's up Jesse Ismond and Joey Leach, and is averaging 1.19 goals-per-game.

Reinhart was exceptional at the 2011 Young Stars Tournament in Penticton thanks to his maturity, poise and superb two-way play. Abbotsford Heat head coach Troy Ward placed him on the top line in every game he played for the Flames during the tournament, saying his ability to read plays was second-to-none on the team.

"As a guy on the ice, he plays beyond his years. He has a very good feel for the game. He understands where people are.

"Really good players can see behind them. Max has a great feel for the game. He understands time and space."

He suffered what is assumed to be an allergic reaction shortly after returning to Calgary, keeping him out of action for the majority of training camp. He was sent back to Kootenay on Sept. 26 with glowing reviews from the coaching staff, stating they loved his skill and vision but recommending he continue to bulk up as he physically wasn't mature enough to handle the rigors of playing against men night after night.  

Earlier in the year, Flames general manager Jay Feaster expressed the excitement the organization feels when it comes to their third-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

"We think he’s going to be a very, very good hockey player for us. He’s a smart guy. His dad was a very smart hockey player. You look at that entire family. It’s not just Max. It’s his brothers as well.

"With those smarts, Max just knows where to be on the ice in the offensive zone and the defensive zone. He’ll go in front of the net. I like his courage. He’s stand in front of the net. Because he sees the net so well, he can make plays. And he finishes well ... I just like the whole package."

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