The Edmonton Oilers recalled Griffin Reinhart today, he’ll no doubt be up for the rest of the playoff run. By this fall, Reinhart will own an NHL contract that is free of bonus worries and will be waiver eligible. So, a team with Reinhart in its training camp will have to make a decision on him before sending him out. Will that team be Edmonton?
Reinhart struggled at training camp this year, so much so that the organization was very straight in terms of where he stood and what needed work.
- Todd McLellan: “Griffin has to improve his game in every area to be a National Hockey Leaguer. He has to get stronger, his (defensive) reads. He has to get down into the American League and understand that because he’s got work to do to get back here. That was the message delivered to him and he accepted it well.” Source
That’s straight talk from the coach, and from all accounts Reinhart has played well in the AHL. He had some early season back issues, but once that was straightened out he rose in terms of usage and estimates had him as the No. 2 prospect defender in terms of icetime.
Reinhart might get a chance to showcase his talent in the playoffs this season, depending on injuries. If that opportunity comes, it could help his chances in the expansion draft. This fall, my guess is Griffin Reinhart will be in the NHL, either as 7D in Edmonton or third pairing in Vegas. His recall today may mean he played his last AHL game (for possibly years) last night. The McLellan quote above is a monster to overcome. If Reinhart shows up in camp this fall and puts that quote behind him, he’ll have finally earned his NHL spot. It has been a truly unusual journey for the former Oil Kings star and No. 4 overall selection in the 2012 Entry Draft.
Griffin Reinhart is four months older than Matt Benning. On draft day 2012 one player was a lottery selection, the other a lottery ticket. In the five years that followed each player developed and we are here. Griffin Reinhart was a brilliant junior player. Doesn’t matter. The size he owns has not been enough to make the NHL, because of the speed he does not possess—something that is vital at the pro level. Reinhart is going to have to arrive in NHL training camp in the best shape of his life, and prove he learned the lessons set out by Todd McLellan. The Oilers are his second NHL organization and Reinhart’s entry-level deal is now complete. This is the second crossroads of Reinhart’s hockey career, it will be interesting to see how things turn out.