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Young defenseman Reinhart an option for Islanders

by Brian Compton / NHL.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders defenseman Griffin Reinhart spent the majority of the season with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, but he may soon get his first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Reinhart, who was recalled prior to the start of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals, practiced with the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday and remains an option for coach Jack Capuano, who is trying to fill the void left by injured defenseman Travis Hamonic.

The fourth player selected at the 2012 NHL Draft, Reinhart helped the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League win the Memorial Cup last spring when he had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 21 playoff games. In his first professional season, Reinhart (6-foot-4, 217 pounds) had seven goals and 15 assists in 59 AHL games. He had one assist in eight games for the Islanders at the start of this season.

Reinhart, asked if he feels ready to step in and contribute, said, "I think so. I think I've done a good job of it this year. Playoffs is always the time of year where I think I play my best hockey. I've done well in the playoffs my previous three years in junior. It's clearly a big step up in the NHL, but it'd be something I'm up for the task though."

Capuano went with the same six defensemen for the first two games of this series, but hinted there could be some tweaks to his lineup for Game 3. He didn't hesitate when asked if Reinhart could be an option.

"I think when you look at Griff, he's got the size and the strength," Capuano said. "That's his biggest assets. I think our D are holding up fine. They're moving the puck, they're doing some good things.

"Without having [Hamonic] for the first two games, it changes a lot of things. He's literally one of your best players back there, not only defensively but offensively he's taken a big stride this year to jump up into the play. Other guys have to step up, but there's a chance as we move forward in this series that other guys are going to get an opportunity."

If inserted into the lineup, Reinhart would instantly become the largest defenseman on the Islanders blue line; Johnny Boychuk has that status at 6-2, 225 pounds. Given his frame, Reinhart said he believes he could help immediately.

"Just having a big presence out there and trying to be physical … they're a big team, they're a strong team and some of the D on our team are a little bit smaller, but they're still able to keep up," Reinhart said. “But I think that I would do fine out there.

"Anything can happen. I just have to be ready if my name is called."

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