The Edmonton Oilers finally got their man. Back in 2012, the rumors had the club split among three players at the top of that year’s draft: Nail Yakupov, who they chose; Ryan Murray, who Scott Howson chose for the Blue Jackets and Reinhart, whose toughness and size have extreme value for the Oilers organization. Today, Griffin Reinhart moves into a new phase of his career, playing for a team that may find room for him as early as October.
Just spoke to Reinhart family and they are “so happy” & “excited” about Griffin coming to #Oilers
— Paul Almeida (@AzorcanGlobal) June 27, 2015
Reinhart arrives to a grand opportunity in Edmonton. The club has some impressive youth (Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom) and based on the value given in the deal last night Peter Chiarelli believes Reinhart can be a piece of equal or near value moving forward.
WHAT KIND OF PLAYER IS HE?
Reinhard is a very physical defenseman, plays with an edge and has a mean streak. He’ll block shots, kill penalties and can jump into the play. His passing is good, but he doesn’t have the creativity of (say) father Paul Reinhart in his prime. Griffin Reinhart was a terrific junior player and is now making the difficult jump to pro. How did he do in the AHL last season?
Corey Pronman, ESPN: “He played very well when I saw
Bridgeport this year. I don’t think he’s a blow you away elite prospect but he’s certainly a top-end one. Points don’t fully show his impact at that level because defense is a big part of his game. I think he’ll be an NHLer next year if the depth chart allows it.” Source
The Oilers believe that too, or we wouldn’t be seeing this kind of a trade. It brings some interesting questions to the forefront, including what to do with Martin Marincin, where Darnell Nurse begins his pro career, and can any of the three youngsters (Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart) play right side? Hat tip to Jonathan Willis for tracking down the fact GR played 20 games right-side in Bridgeport last season. Source
EDMONTON LIKES HIM A LOT
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 27, 2015
“He has great hockey sense, he’s big and can play forever. He needs to improve his lowerbody strength.I’m a huge fan.” Bob Green on Reinhart
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) June 27, 2015
WHAT I THINK
For me, there’s no issue in acquiring big players—size, grit and intimidation remains a big part of the game. However, the big players procured by Edmonton this century who have size have been found lacking in other areas. Griffin Reinhart is a big player who should be able to play in the NHL during some big-game moments. Tough ZS’s, penalty-kill, that kind of thing. He isn’t going to wow you with his offense, that isn’t the heart of his game. It is interesting to see where his offense came from one year ago:
- Overall (AHL) 59GP, 7-15-22 .373
- Power Play 59GP, 2-8-10 .169
- Even Strength 59GP, 5-7-12 .203
That compares with Edmonton prospect Jordan Oesterle, also an AHL rookie in 2014-15:
- Overall (AHL) 65GP, 8-17-25 .385
- Power Play 65GP, 1-5-6 .092
- Even Strength 65GP, 6-12-18 .273
I doubt Reinhart gets a lot of power play time and much of his value comes from defensive play but it is interesting to look at the numbers here an contemplate his future with the Oilers. Offensively, he looks third pairing from here, but TOI one suspects he’s going to get plenty of PK time and will be a rock at even strength. His outer-marker? Barrett Jackman, with perhaps a slice of Chris Phillips’ flair for jumping up into the play.
Reinhart’s mobility takes him beyond the NHL defenseman who we’re seeing leave the game and projects him into a more prominent role where speed, quick decisions and some puck-moving ability are required. The Oilers clearly feel he will have a long career in Edmonton and if they’re patient one suspects the big man will find his way.
The organization would do themselves an enormous favor by finding him a veteran mentor to play alongside. One wonders if that player is out there today, my guess is he was more available yesterday for a package resembling the one Peter Chiarelli dealt for Reinhart.