Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Mark Williams

Reinhart’s Crossroads

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.

  • boil-in-the-oil

    The price we paid for this asset was potentially very high. He needs to achieve NHL status to give us any sense of value . . . Personally, I hope he shows enough (value) to become an Oiler, but if not, here’s hoping we can get something of value in return. Chiarelli did this, I’m sure he doesn’t want that original trade to be the big glaring blunder on his record here. We shall see, I am (forever) hopeful.

    • The Rookie

      After the year this team has had, who the hell is nit picking over the acquisition price of Griffin?? Let it go people. You win some you lose some. He’s the same as any other prospect now, Lander, juhjar, paigan. Just pray they work out, and know that some won’t.

      • FISTO Siltanen

        Thank you for this.

        I’ve read people still saying they can’t trust Chiarelli because of the deal. Really?

        Serious question – if GR gets picked up this summer by Vegas and he’s a solid #3 dman in the league by the following season what will people think of Chiarelli then?

      • overdue

        Who really had the influence to make Chia decide that this was a sound move to make? ( Acquiring Reinhart ) Me thinks it was probably the boys who have been in Edmonton all along. I liked the move at the time, and am still pulling for him to take his place on the team. He has earned this call up and I am sure he is ready for the challenge. I predict he will prove his ( and chia’s ) critics wrong.

    • Ronr68

      Every GM makes a bad deal, now and again. Chiarelli has taken this team and in two years has completely turned it around. I wish everyone would stop harping on this. There’s no guarantee that the picks he gave up are going to valuable. What is a certainty is that this team is for real, NOW! McDavid or not, where would we be without Chiarelli?

    • CMG30

      Don’t worry about trolling the Lames. They’ve finally answered the great philosophical question: What’s going to happen first? Oilers make the playoffs or Shames win a game in Anaheim…? And the crowd never lets them forget it: ‘You can’t win here!” “You can’t win here!”

      Hey, that’s a good blog idea: Top 10 streaks that went on LONGER than our DoD.

  • Prudham's

    Argh. Why? If he was going to be interesting, he would have been even slightly interesting by now. I hope he kicks butt, but he was behind the curve in NY when he was acquired by our braintrust. Ok. Playoffs and things are fun now – so I won’t rant, but that trade had the worst possible optics to it for an organization that was making apparent steps forward.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    I’m cheering for him, but Griffin Reinhart is unlikely to succeed as an Edmonton Oiler. It’s okay. The trade is a sunk cost now. Don’t worry about how much we paid. Best case scenario: Vegas drafts him.

  • CMG30

    I liked him as an Oil King and now he’s right on the cusp of becoming a legit NHL defenseman. The GM invested a lot into acquiring him so that lengthens the rope but even that can only take you so far. He should probably pattern himself after someone like Gryba. Without NHL speed he’ll never be in the top 4, but lots of teams in the NHL have time for a slower D man who fights and plays rough in the corners.

  • Interesting comments all. For me, Reinhart has gone from being the guy involved in that 2015 trade to a guy who probably makes the team as 7D. Where he goes from there is a big part of the story. That isn’t defending the trade, it’s following his career and seeing where it takes him. He had some wild shutdown ability in junior, if he can find a way to play at a faster pace (no small mountain to climb) my bet is he becomes a useful player.

  • Ronr68

    How could that Oil Kings team have been so good and only produced one bona fide NHLer? And a back-up goalie at that? I watched every game of both of their WHL championships AND made the trip to London to see them win the Memorial Cup. I thought for sure Reinhardt and Lazar were NHL talents. I thought LB and Jarry had a shot too. I’m not down on them, I loved them in junior; but normally a very successful team like that produces at least a few NHL regulars. Their arch-nemesis of that time, Portland, produced quite a few.(Baertschi, Derrick Pouliot, Tyler Worthespoon, Brendan Leipsic, Dumba, and Seth Jones.) And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Stick boy

    I disagree with you in the fact that he has to show up to training camp and put that quote behind him. I think he has to show up to camp with that quote ringing in his head but not let it bother him by thinking that was the coach slandering him but take it as having respect for the coach talking to him straight up about his inconsitincy and what he has to work on and take that and use it as motivation to get better. McLellan I think said it because he truly wants Reinhart to be better and he maybe sees potential in him but he just needs a kick in the butt. They could’ve said nothing to him and just traded him. I also don’t think that Chia would keep him around just to justify how much he gave up to get him. I think that he would get rid of him if he truly didn’t see him being a good piece for the team. But I don’t know Chia or TM personally so that’s just my opinion. But that quote sounds more of a kick in the butt message rather then we’re gonna get rid of him as soon as we get a decent offer because if that were the case then why say anything at all like that in the media that every gm in the NHL can see. Wouldn’t a quote like that hurt a guys trade value and if they were truly looking to get rid of him or hang him as bait for the expansion draft you would want to try to elevate or at the very least embellish his play. And if he wasn’t passing the test at the NHL level you would send him to the AHL and give him crazy minutes and hope he padded his stats to make him look intriguing to other teams. Wouldn’t you?… Personally I like Reinhart and I think he could possibly be 2nd pairing defenceman, he’s not there yet but the potential I think is there it’s just up to him to reach it. If Vegas doesn’t take him this summer I would bring him back and see what he does in camp.