A CONVERSATION WITH PAUL AND GRIFFIN REINHART

reinhart griffin

On the weekend I had a chance (along with Paul Almeida) to talk with Paul and Griffin Reinhart. It was mere hours after the trade that brought Griffin to the Oilers and both men were pleased with the opportunity.

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DAD

  • Paul Reinhart on his son Griffin’s opportunity : “It’s a tough league for any player to break in to, let alone succeed in. Not only is it tough it’s almost impossible if not given the opportunity. You need an organization and a staff that is prepared to work with you and develop you. That’s out of a player’s control and I think with a change of scenery here and with the familiarity that Griffin has with the whole organization it really puts him in a great state of mind right now.”

When the Edmonton Oilers sent away two high picks in a deep draft for Griffin Reinhart, they were clearly sending a message to him: He’s a big part of the future. Reinhart’s size and style make him a ‘perfect fit’ for a young team with plenty of flash and offensive brilliance, but a distinct lack of rugged men with size who can actually play. That’s where Reinhart comes in. For his part, Griffin Reinhart had a tough year away from Edmonton, as he toiled in the minors for most of the season. He’s ready to grab the opportunity.

  • Paul Reinhart: “He was incredibly motivated, I’ve never seen him more motivated than he was at the beginning of this summer, just because he knew his time had come and he was ready to go. Even before the trade, the fact that he’s been traded to a place like this is just a dream come true for him.”

The timing is perfect for the Oilers as well. Former Oil Kings GM Bob Green is now the top man in amateur procurement, and Griffin Reinhart would be well known for good deeds during their time together with Edmonton’s WHL team.

  • Bob Green: “He’s got elite hockey sense, he’s 6’4”, he’s a defencemen; we need
    defencemen. He won a Memorial Cup, he was the captain. He would have
    taken us there I believe when he was 18 but he got injured in the
    Conference Final that year and we took Portland to six games and maybe
    we could have won that series had we had him in the lineup. Did he
    struggle this year in the American League? I guess he did, but I believe
    in Griffin as a player and I think he’s going to be just fine… He’s a
    horse. He can play all night. He’s 6’4”, he can move the puck, he’s got
    elite hockey sense, he’s got great hands. He’s the complete package that
    you want in a defenceman who is 20 years old.”
    Source

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  • Paul Reinhart: “You need to temper some of the enthusiasm with the knowledge that a lot of his peers who were in that draft have a year or two of experience—and that’s tough to get. I think that the real measurement of Griffin will be ‘what does he look like after Christmas?’ and into the future. I know what he’ll be in two or three years from now.”

This falls in line with my own belief that relying on Reinhart for big minutes or a feature role right away is asking too much. Todd McLellan will have an opportunity to evaluate him in the fall, and Oilers fans like you and me will argue all summer about where he belongs. When it comes to defensemen, most often injuries dictate usage and with several elder blue in Edmonton now it’s likely we’ll GR for an extended period (or all year) during 2015-16.

  • Griffin Reinhart on his first year of pro hockey: “I think it was a little inconsistent, I had stretches where I wasn’t playing very well and maybe a little bit frustrated and disappointed maybe I wasn’t up in the big league but when I was playing well I played extremely well and was able to keep up—especially in some of the games I got to play up in the NHL. I thought I handled myself well and it’s always a confidence booster when you do play well at that level.”

The Islanders have many quality prospects but the deals for Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy impacted his NHL opportunity as a rookie pro in a big way. The frustration and disappointment aside, Reinhart appeared to work through the issues and come out the other side playing well.

  • Griffin Reinhart’s things to work on: “There’s a lot of things. I’m always going to work on every part of my game. I think the biggest focus is agility, skating and making sure I stay low and in a good hockey position. I think sometimes I tend to have straight legs almost and that may costs me a little bit, but that’s something I’m working on this summer.

Defense is a tough position at any level, and the transition from junior to pro is a massive step. Reinhart’s adjustment continues and Oilers fans have seen many youngsters over the years make their way at the NHL level. Reinhart’s AHL experience in the Islanders system may have prepared him in a way that some Oilers prospects haven’t received when they make their pro debut. We should also account for the possibility that Reinhart spends some time in Bakersfield this season and his development continues in the Oilers organization.

Full interview is very interesting, both men were gracious with their time and it’s appreciated. Interview begins at 46 minute mark. Source


  • Alberta Bound Edmonton

    We need elite “D” to compete in the western conference. The question is “Does Reinhart have the potential to be one of the best?” Time will tell but let’s drop the “Is he worth a 16th and 33rd. That ship has sailed. Let’s give the young man a chance!

  • Aendayana777

    I’m old enough to remember Paul and that is some fine pedigree gang.Im really hoping in 4 years we look back and praise Chia for this move.I will admit my expectations were higher for the 16th and 33rd and only time tell if it was right or wrong.I do know he and Nuge are tight and all us older people know that work is a lot more productive and enjoyable if you fit with your colleagues.This could be the most important turn in his YOUNG career and thank Christ the Canucks didn’t get him.Oh and we also got a new guy named McDavid.Go OIL!!!

  • CMG30

    For the love of Gourd, just don’t rush him. If he’s ready then fine, but the default should be Bakersfield.

    It’s better he get 20 minutes in the AHL vs. 2 minutes in the NHL.

    • bazmagoo

      Also @ Alberta Bound Edmonton – I’d love to see Darnell and Griffin play a full season in the AHL, just my personal opinion. One question for all those poo pooing on the trade, how many of you would have traded #16 and #33 overall for #4 overall in this years draft? Personally I think this looks like a steal for Chiarelli.

  • hags437

    Left for the mountains to go quadding shortly after the first round ended. Was out of cell service for a couple days and was looking forward to coming back and reading all about the draft etc. After about 4 minutes of it, I was wishing to be back off the grid. I can’t believe the negativity on these sites. It’s gone from aggravating to laughable for me. If you would have been told on April14 that in order to get McDavid and Reinhart you have to give up #16, and 33. Who says no deal and then bitches and whines for 2 months?? Anyone? Beuller? We just drafted the best player to come out of junior in 30 years (according to Gretzky) and all I hear is waa, we gave up Marincin, waa, we gave up draft picks for Reinhart, we could have had Barzal or Svechnikov or some other shiny 18 year old kid. That’s it for me…appreciate the outlet to vent. I feel better. Hope all of you do too.

  • KevCantDance

    Let’s keep in mind that Todd Mac is the same coach who made Doug Murray, slug of all slugs, a useful player. Keep the whole picture in mind, and don’t compare what we did previously with what we’re doing now. New people, new tactics, and all around new vibe. Had we got Reinhart last year, yes, I’d be worried. But we haven’t even hit July 1st yet. Relax.

  • Aendayana777

    I think this will work out for the Oilers. So much is about timing in life. He is in a good place now surrounded with plenty other young and talented hockey players. Give him 2-3 years.

    On a side note. PC tried to trade for Mike Richards before Lombardi got informed of some shenanigans of his. Told PC about it and said can’t trade him anymore. Good thing it did’t work out. I don’t know if its old news

  • Alberta Bound Edmonton

    This is one of those wait and see trades. My gut says that trade will end up being a steel. We will look back at this and say.. can you believe we Got GR for the just the 16th and 33rd picks.. NO roster players.. Wow what a trade…

  • OilCanFan1

    I keep seeing comments that the price was too high where does that come from? the kid has two years of development on his resume. Taking small risks for a possible high return is a smart calculated move regardless of what GR becomes.
    I got to see him enough as a junior to know this kid has the tools and the drive hopefully he has enough skill to play at the NHL level either way I am cheering for him all the way and hope he becomes a solid Oiler.

    • OilCanFan1

      I think a lot of people are comparing it to the Hamilton give-away. That wasn’t what was offered to the Oilers so it shouldn’t be used as a comparison. It was pure spite, in my opinion, and a very poor hockey decision. I think there were 2 offers better than Calgary’s but Boston (Neely I’m assuming) decided to rub Chiarelli’s face in it.

      I have a soft spot for any player that wants to be a part of the city and puts in the effort. I rank Yakupov up there for that same reason – he loves it here and he tries hard all the time.

  • BDH

    I like the move. HE was a star in the WHL, he won a memorial cup, and he was a solid team guy. He’s excited to be coming back to Edmonton. We’ll see in three years, but I expect he’ll be a solid # 2, 3 or 4 D. He could be an important part of the core group that brings the cup back to Edmonton.

  • mcjesus take the wheel

    I think the key here is to separate the price to get the player from the expectations on player himself. The cost was A LOT. It really was. But that is on Chiarelli, not GR.

    Its like the Horcoff situation. Horc’s was great at what he did. Dependable 2 way C playing tough minutes. But not Horc’s fault he was overpaid.

    If the kid works hard, makes the team, and becomes a dependable 3/4 man in the next 2 or 3 years then we should be pretty damn happy about that. That is still a win in my opinion.

    A player can be a great contributor to a team without being a 1/2 guy and its unfair to expect him to be just because Chiarelli possibly overpaid.

  • BlueHairedApe

    Bridgeport was dead last in their conference this year. So is Reinharts perceived step back on the player or the organization? It would be fair to assume after listening to his father’s comments that everyone in the Reinhart household is pretty happy he is moving elsewhere. I’m confident the new regime has recognized this and will give him the support he needs.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Hearing that a player is motivated always excites me and he seems to be getting some high praise. Peter is apparently also familiar with him and I believe in peter.

    If Reinhart can be solid in the minors and play some games in Edmonton next year, ill be happy.

    Will have to wait and see. He could end up being a steal or a bust.

  • mcjesus take the wheel

    Forwards are the easiest to see skills at a young age. Connor will be a great example. Further he should elevate his team mates.

    D need a longer development time. Maybe as much as 5 years to hit their stride. PC just moved the clock ahead by 3 years with GR. Good move.

    Goalies are the big gamble to call early and take a long time to bloom. Hasek was almost a career minor leaguer and Roloson was in his 30s for his best hockey.

    The Oilers as a team have stepped it up with management and coaching. Let’s see how J Johnson does with the D and how Todd does with fresh air in the locker room.