The Carolina Hurricanes are not unfamiliar with investing in hockey families.
Griffin Reinhart would be that next investment.
Griffin, a defenseman for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, is the son of former National Hockey League defenseman Paul Reinhart, who logged 648 career games with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Griffin’s brothers Max and Sam, forwards for the Kootenay Ice of the WHL, are also following in the family hockey footsteps. Max, the eldest brother, was drafted by the Calgary Flames 64th overall in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Sam, the youngest brother, is already projected as a top-five pick in the 2014 draft.
“It’s always something to take into consideration,” said Tony MacDonald, head of amateur scouting for the Hurricanes. “He’s from a hockey family, so he understands what it’s all about. He’s been exposed to a lot of situations in his young life to this point in time.”
Touted as one of the top defensive prospects available in a defensively-deep pool, Reinhart is an all-around cultured blueliner. He can make adept offensive choices while also using his size and strength to his advantage in his own zone. He can eat up minutes on both special teams units, quarterbacking the power play with his accurate shot and cleaning up the front of the net with his towering frame on the penalty kill.
|HOMETOWN: VANCOUVER, B.C. |
|HEIGHT: 6-4 |
|WEIGHT: 207 |
|BIRTHDAY: JAN. 24, 1994 (AGE 18) |
Though they differ a bit in size – Griffin measures in at 6-foot-4, 207 pounds compared to his 5-foot-11, 205-pound father – Griffin’s play reminds many scouts of his father’s game. Paul was drafted by the Atlanta Flames 12th overall in 1979. Griffin projects to be selected in the same range, if not higher.
Reinhart never got to see his father play in person; Griffin was born in 1994, and Paul had retired in 1990 at the age of 29 due to chronic back pain. Griffin has seen classic Flames games on television, and he joked about how both he and his dad make the same mistakes.
The 2011-12 season marked Reinhart’s second full campaign with the Oil Kings. In 58 games, Reinhart led Edmonton defensemen in goals with 12 (5 of which were scored on the power play) and added 24 assists (36 points). He was a plus-23, as the Oil Kings finished first in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with a 50-15-7 record.
Edmonton went on to capture the WHL championship, topping the Portland Winterhawks in seven games. Reinhart had 8 points (2g, 6a) and led his team with a plus-14 rating in 20 postseason games. He comes into the draft as the 10th ranked North American Skater according to the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.
“He’s one of the players that, from start to finish, has evolved,” MacDonald said. “He got off to a bit of a slower start, but during the course of the year he just kept getting better and better. When he reached the end of the season, he was competing at a pretty high level.”
Considering Reinhart’s overall package – his offensive upside, his size and strength, his defensive-zone awareness and, of course, his strong bloodlines – he figures to be among the best defensemen available in this year’s draft.