Don’t overvalue Griffin Reinhart

I don’t know where it’s coming from, but Edmonton is abuzz with talk of a trade that would see the Oilers move their third overall pick in this year’s draft to the New York Islanders in exchange for Griffin Reinhart, the fourth overall pick in 2012.

It strikes me as a bad idea.

The Arguments

Bob Stauffer had two guests on his show bring up the subject recently – TSN scout (and former NHL G.M.) Craig Button and the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson. Terry Jones wrote about the possibility in the Edmonton Sun, and David Staples riffed on that in a follow-up piece on the Journal’s website.

Jones’ argument can be summarized by one paragraph from that column:

Lord knows the Oilers need a ready-to-play-in-the-NHL shutdown defenceman. And if you’ve been watching the Oil Kings this season and especially this playoff season, Reinhart seems to be exactly what they’re looking for.

Staples argument against can be shortened even further, to two words: Colten Teubert. (I highly recommend the video above in the context of this discussion; it’s included because the TSN commentary is fascinating in hindsight.)

Production

Player Draft League Draft-1 Draft Draft+1 Draft+2
Griffin Reinhart 4th, 2012 WHL 46 51 40 38
Ryan Murray 2nd, 2012 WHL 54 55 61 NHL
Erik Gudbranson 3rd, 2010 OHL 29 46 63 NHL
Jared Cowen 9th, 2009 WHL 22 36 42 68
Luke Schenn 5th, 2008 WHL 33 40 NHL NHL
Karl Alzner 5th, 2007 WHL 28 61 49 AHL/NHL
Keaton Ellerby 10th, 2007 WHL 10 30 31 AHL
Braydon Coburn 8th, 2003 WHL 45 29 45 60
Dion Phaneuf 9th, 2003 WHL 21 35 57 83
Colten Teubert 13th, 2008 WHL 14 29 51 55

The chart above shows every major junior defenceman since 2000 to be selected in the top 10 spots of the NHL draft while posting an 82-game offensive total not more than 10 points above that of Reinhart in his draft year (in deference to Staples, I’ve included Colten Teubert as well).

It isn’t a bad list, until we get to the season two years post-draft, the season Reinhart is completing now. To a man, every one of these defenceman (almost all of them defensive defenders at the NHL level) were posting 50-plus point seasons (per 82 games) in junior or had graduated to the professional ranks. The only exception is Reinhart, whose offence fell sharply in his first post-draft season and has continued to stagnate.

Now, there are roughly 1,000,000 things points by a defenceman don’t tell us. Points miss big chunks of the picture with forwards, and they miss even more of it with defencemen.

But here’s the rub: hockey can’t be neatly divided into offence and defence. Shutdown players don’t leave the ice when their team gets possession of the puck. So a lack of offence at the junior level either means a lack of ability (i.e. they can’t shoot and can’t pass) or it means they’re spending their entire time in the defensive zone. That’s why players who turn into shutdown types in the NHL generally score in junior; they may primarily be playing a defensive game, but a successful defensive game generally also equates to points.

So it’s a little troubling that Reinhart is getting lapped offensively by a guy like Teubert at the same age. It’s particularly unnerving when somebody like Central Scouting director Dan Marr (in the video above) is comparing him to defencemen like Paul Reinhart (who flirted with a point-per-game pace in the 1980’s) and Alex Edler (who had posted 49 points in the year the video was made).

At best, Reinhart isn’t the player he was projected to be when the Islanders drafted him. Just like a new car that depreciates the moment its buyer drives it off the lot, that suggests the Oilers shouldn’t have to pay the same price (well, more, technically) than the Islanders did to add the player. It’s also worth remembering that the Oilers have a pile of good defensive prospects still in the pipeline. 

It simply doesn’t make sense to move an asset like the third overall pick to acquire Reinhart. It may not make sense to trade for him at all. It’s great that the Oilers get the inside information that comes with owning the Oil Kings, but that doesn’t mean they have to trade for every prospect who ever wore the jersey of that team.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Jason Strudwick

    I really don’t think MacT would make a move like this. If he’s trading the 3rd pick it’s gotta be a ‘no-brainer’ move that would have the most hardcore of fans behind him. Even just recently he mentioned not doing anything stupid in the off season and a move like this would be way too easy to screw up and would open him up to intense criticism (something I think the Oilers have zero appetite for by now).

    JW: What are your thoughts on this years draft? Do you go Bennett or Draisaitl? Do you think MacT should go Moneyball again in the later rounds? (stockpiling bullets and picking based heavily on advanced stats).

    • I’d probably go Bennett, but I haven’t really seen enough of either guy to offer an informed opinion. I’m a big believer in taking the consensus pick and I haven’t seen many lists that have Draisaitl above Bennett.

      I think it’s hard to do much adv. stats with the numbers we have for junior players currently. I think there’s a certain amount that can be done (don’t draft goons, don’t draft goalies too early, don’t grab guys who aren’t scoring in leagues nobody’s ever heard of) but mostly at the junior level you just have to trust your scouts.

      • Jason Strudwick

        From what I gleaned from their interviews on the radio, Bennet and Eckblad sound like MacT players, character guys with heart. I think they wow him in the interview and if one is available, they are an Oiler. My 2 cents anyway.

  • geeker99

    Won’t happen. The only time MacT mentioned that the Oilers first was in play was a the beginning of the season. That is when he thought the pick was going to be a lot later.

    All this trade does is allow the Islanders off the hook for the Vanek SNAFU. The Oilers don’t owe them anything.

    There are too many shiny new players in the Oilers draft range for them to pass up. I am surprised this thought is even in the echo chamber.

    • bazmagoo

      You should clarify that Gregor said not a chance you make that trade. The guy also wanted to deal the #3 for Reinhart and Gregor politely laughed him off in both cases.

      Oilers don’t need another left shot 19 year old D-man. They have three between the ages of 18-22 right now in Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse.

      Jones is so far out to lunch it is funny. Staples is the worst over-evaluator of talent I’ve seen and even he thinks Reinhart isn’t that good.

  • Edsez

    I could see making this move for Reinhart if, and only if, they are replacing one of the current prospects traded away in a deal for the previously mentioned, on this blog, “very high-end defenseman”

  • Finally someone in the media is making sense and has actual numbers to back up his point.

    3rd overall should land us an elite player..top 5 should land you a great top 4 dman or at the very least top 6 forward. Two years after his draft season and Reinhart looks more like a 5-6 guy than a top 4. Pass.

    Use the pick..take Ekblad, Draisaitl or Bennett.

  • bazmagoo

    G Rhenhart is a prospect. A good one mind you. But that is all. the telling thing is that in that draft year the Isles were allegedly offering all 12 of their picks in the draft for the number 1 pick from Columbus. They want Ryan Murray so bad they were willing to sell their first born.

    For me any trade with Isles would have to involve Gagner and the 2015 number 1 pick for this years #5 and maybe a 2cd or 3rd round pick.

    The Isles need to give Tavares a legitimate back up scoring threat on the second line. Gagner needs a refresh. The Isles cannot fail to make the playoffs next year and turn that pick into a lottery pick for Buffalo. They need to get better now.I also believe its their last season in Nassau. The fans in Brooklyn will want to see a winner.just saying.

  • The only way I see the Oilers with G. Reinhart is if they trade someone like Gagner for him. There is no way they trade away the 3rd pick. I also only see them with G. Reinhart if the plan is to draft S. Reinhart for their C position with that 3rd overall pick.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    From the few games Ive seen the Oilkings play Reinhart might not put up Doughty points but he’s better than Fraser and Belov.

    Sure he might only top out at a 5 or maybe a 4 dman, but if he can get the puck out of the Oilers zone with tape to tape passes and actually cover the man in front then Id take him on the Oilers anyday.

    As for a trade for him I wouldn’t use the 3rd pick to get Reinhart, but I would use Gernat and a conditional 3rd round pick in 2015 or something along those lines. Snow did give away Vanek for free pretty much, so who knows right lol.

    Achoring a defence that went to 3 straight yrs of WHL finals, 1 Mem cup final(possibly 2), and gold at the Olympics, even against 18-20yr olds is pretty damn good.

  • Jason Strudwick

    I believe or hope this will be our last lottery pick this decade, if this is true we should take the best available player and run with it. Two most important things with this pick, one he has to do better than the phlegms pick and second he has to compliment our core.

  • Because they don’t have enough left handed defence prospects….I think the Islanders would love a redo on this pick given that they passed on Morgan Reilly and Jacob Trouba to name two defencemen from that draft that look like they will bring a more well rounded game then Reinhart. Trading the third overall this year for this player would be flat out idiotic. That is precisely why this rumour is so scary. This management group is incompetent enough to go ahead and make this deal.

  • paul wodehouse

    … with Teubert now playing in an elite?German league why is he being included in these talks JW… he was only ever a prospect pair of fists the oilers traded for…didn’t get thrown in with the Penner unloading?

    …slow day I guess…I’m thinking has anyone talked with Oates about coming to Etown yet?

  • Citizen David

    Griffin Reinhart is a left defenseman that will probably top off as a Smid. We have Nurse, Marincin, Klefbom, and Simpson that I’d all rank as better. It would be a ridiculous trade. Absolutely horrible.

  • gr8one

    Lt made a list of possible trade / ufa targets. I would not go after any of these guys.

    We have all watched that list of d-men and yes they would help us and improve our team. But none really have anymore upside. Its a good bet we have seen the best from them.

    If we are going to trade for anyone why not ask for Olli Maatta, OEL, Trouba, Gudbranson or Cam Fowler and use our 3rd over all for them, especially if EkBlad is still there

    At least with these 5 players we can still see upside and they have played a few NHL games and we know what we are getting. We probably have to add a second asset along with the pick to get anyone of these 3 players.

      • paul wodehouse

        Hi Jason

        I was just thinking ahead. For example Pittsburgh may have CAP issues and wouldn’t mind getting a younger (2 years) prospect replace and by time for the CAP, Tallon is a wheeler dealer, OEL is going to cost the Yotes and the are still losing money so again to by time. Ducks probably ok but this would be more for our sake and for Hall, since the were teamamtes in junior

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I get the sentiment of trading a good pick for another good pick a few years developed, but for Griffin Reinhart??

    This closed-minded fascination with acquiring players the same way they’re acquiring front office staff is insane.

    There are good junior/AHL players outside of what this management team is exposed to and is comfortable with, just like there are excellent coaching/management candidates outside of Oilers’ alumni.

    This attitude has to change before the Oilers have a sniff at becoming a real NHL team.

  • gr8one

    Jonathan,

    I just posted this question on the previous article, but I would love to hear your answer

    Have you heard the real reason Smid was traded?

    Was it truly for the chance to acquire a goaltending prospect or has it come out yet that there was another reason.

    This trade has never made sense to me and I have always felt there had to be more to it than what we were told. Then it just seemed to get glossed over, ignored and forgotten,while we kept guys like Potter and Belov.

    So…did I miss a better explanation or was the trade truly made for a goaltending prospect? Do you know?