Griffin Reinhart and the Expansion Draft


For a hypothetical expansion team, it’s hard to imagine a
much better target than Griffin Reinhart. The 2012 fourth overall pick is still
finding his way in the NHL, but has the potential to play for a decade or more
in the league.

It’s also difficult to imagine the Oilers protecting
Reinhart in the expansion draft.

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At this point, we still don’t know if or when the league
will choose to expand. As Bob McKenzie notes, there are four possible avenues
open to the NHL and no assurance as to which one Gary Bettman and the 30 team
owners will choose to take.

If the league plans to expand immediately, though, the new
team(s) wouldn’t be able to play until the 2017-18 season, which means that the
expansion draft itself wouldn’t take place until the summer of 2017. That’s
soon enough to worry about, but far enough out that things could change between
now and then.

We also aren’t entirely sure of the rules under which any
expansion draft would take place, though at last report it seemed NHL teams would have their choice of one of two protection options:

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  • Seven forwards, three defencemen, one goaltender
  • Eight skaters, one goaltender

Assuming that is in fact the process, Edmonton would be
hard-pressed to protect Reinhart, especially if it adds one or two good
right-shot defencemen this summer.


Oscar Klefbom, obviously, would be protected. Andrej Sekera’s
no-move clause means Edmonton will in all likelihood have no choice but to
protect him as well. That leaves one or two spots (depending on
which option the Oilers chose) for other defencemen, at least one of which is
likely to be reserved for whoever the team adds to the blue line this summer.

All of which leaves a maximum of one spot for Brandon
Davidson, Griffin Reinhart, Mark Fayne and the rest (Darnell Nurse, by virtue
of a lack of pro experience, should be exempt). At this point it’s hard to
argue that Reinhart is more deserving of protection than Davidson.

The NHL’s new expansion rules should make new team(s) more
competitive right out of the gate, but it’s highly likely that any expansion
team would struggle in its first year. One simply doesn’t build a contender by
taking the 10th-best player off every NHL roster. That in turn suggests a
strategy: to the degree possible without overly sacrificing quality, drafting young
players with room to grow makes sense.

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As far as Oilers defencemen go, that means Reinhart or


Davidson turns 25 this summer and has a range of skills;
after three full seasons in the minors he has emerged as a defenceman who plays
a polished defensive game and is capable of moving the puck. He climbed into
the top-four at points last season and if he can do it again there’s no way
Edmonton could justify exposing him to an expansion team.

Reinhart is less proven and less mobile, but he’s knocking
on the door of regular NHL employment. He looked capable of taking on third-pair
minutes in a 29-game cameo last season, though the Oilers’ logjam on the left
side and Reinhart’s own development needs may mean a return to the AHL to start
next season. He’s big, he’s smart and he’s only 22 years old. Skating remains
an issue, but if he can bring a physical dimension/competence with the puck on
a more regular basis he could still enjoy a long career in the majors.

Given that he’ll still have four more years under club
control when his entry-level deal expires in 2017, he’s an easy add for our
hypothetical expansion team and would certainly make more sense than a year or
two from a pricier veteran.

General manager Peter Chiarelli could, of course, make a
trade to remedy the situation. As previous general managers facing expansion
have done, he could bribe the league’s newest team(s) not to select Reinhart,
though that would certainly cost the Oilers something else of value.
Alternately, he could deal Reinhart to another team, though one imagines most
NHL clubs would have difficulty protecting the defenceman and that difficulty
would be reflected in the trade return.

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Every team is going to have expansion draft headaches if the
league decides to go ahead with adding a team or teams, and Reinhart just
happens to be Edmonton’s.  


  • Darth Oiler

    Pick up another defenseman from a team in the same situation for a 3rd or something like that it means you only lose one of the 2. Unless they expand by 2 teams.

  • madjam

    If you go to Expansion draft 2017 , you will find a list of players that team or teams might have to choose from as exposables .It is under Hockey News/Matt Larkin .

    In short , even if Reinhart left open , their is little to no chance he will get taken over rest on that list . Reinhart does not even get mentioned on the list of available defenseman . However , at forward , is a different story as Pouliot and Letestu are on that list , and Pouliot would almost certainly be one of top 3-4 forwards taken .

    It’s quite the list , and you can have fun picking a team for the next expansion .

  • madjam

    Oilers big problem : Right side offence beyond Eberle is atrocious . Here is the points for each : Eberle 69 games -47 points , Yakupov 63 games-23 points , Pakareinen – 63 games – 13 points , Kassian -36 games -8 points . Only 44 points for R Wingers beyond Eberle . Couple that big problem with same side weakness on defense and it’s amazing we even got as many points as we did . To think we might get rid of Eberle in a trade makes you wonder if they ever want to win here . Our right side lineup so poor we cannot even replace Yak adequately as yet .

  • Pritchard

    Why don’t we just worry about making the oilers a team that competes for the playoffs next season and not focus so much on which fringe Nhl player we may or may not lose to expansion. The protected list will be well thought out when the time comes.

  • madjam

    Oilers have a lot of good if not superior talent on left side of ice to compete well with anyone , but right side beyond Eberle is a disaster offensively as well as defensively . The team overall has severe imbalance between left and right side of club keeping us in the cellar of league .

    Time to use the excessive/wealth of left side talent to start balancing and upgrading the right side deficiencies of team . Hopefully Chia can accomplish that without using a center like Draisaitl having to switch to wing , as that lowers the effectiveness at the overall center position , and thought of dealing Hopkins just creates a lot more imbalance by diluting the center position from one of strength to barely enough to compete at high level needed to be competitive . There is plenty on left side overload we could use in making that happen without having to sacrifice much on left side efficiency overall , nor reducing center position .

  • @Hallsy4

    Mac T and Lowe are still pulling some strings. As long as Lowe’s in the organization he has input with players, I don’t care what they tell us. Chia hopefully does not listen, but he certainly has input. Trade the mall.

  • @Hallsy4

    I believe we will trade Eberle, Yak, Pou, and possibly Nuge. @Madjam, your’e right that this opens up a huge hole on RW. Even if we keep Nuge and move him or Drai to wing, there’s still a hole in top 6. Aside from Okposo, who I doubt will sign here, who does everyone think would be realistic options to replace them with via trade or Free agency?