Former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart has a pretty good idea what it takes to reach the next level.
He spent 11 seasons in the League with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks and is the father of three successful hockey-playing sons: Max, Griffin and Sam.
Max was a third-round pick (No. 64) of the Flames in 2010 and Griffin was selected No. 4 by the New York Islanders in 2012. Sam's turn will come at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Paul Reinhart believes his son Sam's high hockey IQ will aid him in getting to the NHL. (Photo: Cranbrook Photo & Studio)
"He sees the game extremely well and he's a very cerebral player," Paul Reinhart said of his youngest son. "All three are [cerebral]. I think I was a very good player but marvel when I have an opportunity to watch Sam play. I marvel at some of the small things he does with the puck and away from the puck and his ability to understand the game."
Sam was under the microscope this week when NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings for the 2014 draft. He had a stellar second half of the regular season for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League to move up one spot to No. 3 among North American skaters; he had been No. 4 in the midterm rankings.
The elder Reinhart advises any young prospect to keep the rankings and draft in perspective.
"With regard to rankings, there are a lot of guys who were never drafted who are playing and having great careers in the NHL, so to me the draft is just a testament or measuring stick of where you happen to be at any given time," Paul Reinhart said. "[The draft] is significantly over-rated. I'm not saying you ignore it, but at the same time it really doesn't matter a whole bunch. All three of my boys have understood that."
Sam Reinhart, in his third full season with the Ice, had 36 goals and 105 points in 60 regular-season games this season. He scored 12 power-play goals and two shorthanded goals and finished with a plus-24 rating despite constant double-teams and shadows. Entering play Wednesday he was tied for second in playoff scoring with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in eight games, and has a team-best plus-5 rating.
"Sam, having watched Griffin and Max go through the process, has a greater appreciation of how little [the draft] means at the end of the day," Paul Reinhart said. "The teams that pick you are the teams who like you for whatever reason. After that it's up to you to make the hockey club."
MORE PROSPECTOR FILES STORIES
Paul, who could have all three of his sons playing for NHL teams on a regular basis within two years, was asked if he should be considered the ultimate hockey dad.
"My reaction to that is that I obviously married the ultimate hockey mom," he said with a grin. "It's a combination. My contribution to the boys' success is minimal compared to the contributions and efforts they have made. At the end of the day it's still up to them. They are the ones who had all kinds of options to do what they wanted to do. The fact they chose hockey certainly was not something we pushed them into, but being good Canadian young kids they gravitated toward the sport. And once they showed ability it was the three of them putting in the time and effort and sacrifice. They've continued that, so much of the credit goes to the individuals and not the parents."
MONAHAN: 'TAKE SUMMER SERIOUSLY'
Calgary Flames forward Sean Monahan joined elite company earlier this month when he scored his 20th goal, becoming the first Flames rookie forward to reach that milestone since Jarome Iginla in 1996-97.
Former Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf was the last Calgary player to score 20 goals in his first year, in 2005-06.
When asked what advice he would provide this year's draft prospects looking to make their mark early in their careers, he said to be in great shape.
"I think you have to take the summer seriously, and if you want to make that jump you have to be
Draft dandy of the week: Smith
It was Christmas in April for Oshawa Generals right wing Hunter Smith on Tuesday when NHL Central Scouting revealed its final rankings of the top draft-eligible players for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Smith, a 6-foot-6, 208-pound right-handed shot, had the biggest jump from the midterm release in January among North American skaters, moving 101 spots from No. 140 to No. 39.
"He's made himself into a player," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He came into the league as a role-type of player and worked hard to develop his skill set. He's one of the toughest guys in the league, but complements that with good puck-handling and passing ability. Big guys who are tough and skilled are very valuable in the NHL."
Smith had 16 goals (seven power-play goals), 40 points, a plus-11 rating and 100 penalty minutes in 64 regular season games.
"I like to work down low and create opportunities off the cycle," Smith said. "I like to get in on the forecheck and get my hits in but also make sure I'm taking care of my defensive responsibilities. I try to be first back on the back check and I'm not afraid to drop the gloves."
Entering Wednesday he is third on the team in scoring through seven playoff games with 11 points (three goals).
"He's a team-first guy that works on his game every day," Oshawa coach D.J. Smith told the Metroland News. "I think personally he might be the most improved player in our league. Coming from last year where he didn't play to being a major part of one of our top lines, [playing on the] power play.
"He's probably one of the toughest guys in the league. He's a guy I'm sure NHL teams are looking at."
Smith, who said his "success comes from living in front of the net," enjoys the role of power forward.
"I've been fortunate enough to play on a great team with a great group of guys," he said. "Given an opportunity to play by my coaches has led to an increase in confidence which has benefited me as a player."
NHL team: Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL player: "Sidney Crosby"
Shootout move: "Shoot low blocker."
Celebration: "Just raise both hands and maybe a fist pump."
Video game: "NHL 14."
Movie: "Step Brothers"
Actor/Actress: "Will Ferrell and Jennifer Aniston"
Website: "Twitter and YouTube"
Music: "Techno and house music."
Three you would invite to dinner: Marcus Luttrell, Malcolm Gladwell, President Barack Obama
Sport (other than hockey): "Baseball, golf and fishing"
Pregame meal: "Chicken and spaghetti."
-- Mike G. Morreale
ready because there are a lot more stronger and bigger guys [in the NHL] you will have to play with and against," Monahan said. "It's obviously a longer season, so I think you have to adjust to that and you have to treat your body right every day. It's an everyday job at this level and it's something you have to adjust to, but it's something I also enjoy."
Monahan, who was chosen No. 6 by the Flames at the 2013 NHL Draft, entered the Flames' game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings with 32 points in 71 games.
"It's been a good year for my first year in the League," he said. "I've been through a lot of situations, so I think it's been a good learning experience. I don't think I have any regrets at all."
Flames coach Bob Hartley said Monahan is a sponge when it comes to learning on the fly.
"He's one of the best learners and listeners that I've coached," Hartley said. "You don't have to repeat to him 10 times. You say it once, it sinks right in. And he plays in all three zones on both sides of the puck. That's what amazes me so much about that young man."
A DRAFT IN PHILADELPHIA
The 2014 NHL Draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It will be the first time the city and facility has hosted the draft, and more than 10,000 fans and 500 print, television and radio media are expected to attend.
Who are the best players for this year's draft? NHL Central Scouting released its final list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America on Tuesday and center Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League maintained his hold on the No. 1 spot among North American skaters; he was No. 1 in the midterm rankings in January. Rounding out the top five are: defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts (OHL); center Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice (Western Hockey League); center Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL); and left wing Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals (OHL).
Among the top 30 North American skaters, 14 were from the OHL, nine from the WHL, five from the United States Hockey League (which includes the United States National Team Development Program) and two from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The top five skaters on Central Scouting's final European ranking are forwards, topped by Kasperi Kapanen of Kalpa in Finland. Next are William Nylander of Modo in Sweden; Kevin Fiala of HV 71 Jr. in Sweden's junior division; Jakub Vrana of Linkoping in Sweden; and David Pastrnak of Sodertalje in Sweden's second division.
PROSPECTS ON THE RISE
1. Gavin Bayreuther, D, St. Lawrence (ECAC): The 6-foot, 195-pound left-shot freshman, a finalist for ECAC rookie of the year, ranked third on the team with 36 points (nine goals, 27 assists) in 38 games. He also finished with a plus-1 rating, six power-play goals and 101 shots on goal. Bayreuther, who was second among all first-year NCAA players with 23 power-play points, is No. 48 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 draft. He went undrafted last season when he was No. 186 on Central Scouting's final list.
"We ranked him [No. 186] two years ago coming out of Holderness Prep school," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He has vision and puck skills and shoots it well. His skating has always been good, but he came on the scene late in his draft year. Size (6-foot, 195) has not hindered his mobility; he can be physical and has the tools. We can't overlook the fact this kid looks like an NHL player and we have to tell the teams that's what we see."
2. Darby Llewellyn, LW, Kitchener (OHL): The 6-1, 176-pound left-shot forward from Ann Arbor, Mich., is a product of the Detroit Honeybaked program in the Midwest Elite Hockey League. A 2012 fourth-round OHL pick (No. 71), Llewellyn had 25 goals and 36 points in 66 games. He is No. 64 on Central Scouting's final list of North American prospects.
"Darby competes every shift," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He has made himself into a very good second-line guy in Kitchener. He skates well and is strong on his skates, battles hard and has no fear of playing in traffic. Has a very good wrist shot."
3. Matthew Berkovitz, D, Ashwaubenon (HIGH-WI): The University of Wisconsin recruit closed his senior season with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 24 games. He moved up 17 spots from Central Scouting's midterm rankings to No. 61 on the final list of draft-eligible North Americans.
"He doesn't play at a high-level program, but he's got skill, can skate, has nice hands and a good feel for the game," Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen said. "He played for Team Wisconsin [in the Upper Midwest elite league], so I've seen him against good teams at the AAA midget level, and he competed hard and has a lot of ability in his game."