MONTREAL, QC. — Imagine the frustration that forwards have when attempting to enter the offensive zone only to be shut out, mercilessly pummeled by a gut-wrenching body check, or having the puck poked free creating a turnover. Frustration has a name, it’s Griffin Reinhart. The six-foot-four, two-hundred-pound defender is calamity on skates — he can deliver earth shattering hits that make forwards writhe in pain, or deliver crisp accurate passes to forwards to generate a scoring chance.
Reinhart, born in Vancouver, BC, is making his own mark on the hockey world, and will be the third Reinhart drafted by a NHL team. His brother Max was drafted by Calgary in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and dad Paul, was a first round pick of Atlanta in 1979 moving on to play with Calgary and Vancouver.
Griffin is a multi-dimensional player; he can hit, shut down forwards, make plays, and score from the point. He possesses strong two-way ability, as well as a knack for knowing where his forwards will be by reading plays extremely well. His bone-crushing hits can be considered icing on the cake as his defensive play and long-reach make him a very worthy adversary.
While Griffin has all the skill to be a solid third or fourth defenseman in the NHL, there are areas of his game he needs to work on if he truly wishes to get to that next level. Reinhart’s skating needs to improve as he can get beat by fast forwards. Fine tuning his speed would allow Reinhart to not only keep up with the best, but also enable him to be more adventurous offensively, perhaps joining the rush, or even taking on the role of puck carrier more frequently. Often defenders that don’t have enough speed will play with more caution in their game ensuring they avoid any unexpected faux pas.
With Reinhart’s size and skill many teams are considering the young defender to possibly be a top five pick. Scouts have suggested that he could go anywhere between fourth and tenth in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Under perfect circumstances Reinhart projects to be a solid number two or three defender. If he can improve his skating, continue to make smart decisions and maintain the level of his physical play, he could turn out to be a well-rounded number two defender supporting a highly-skilled number one.
It is believed that Reinhart is one of the safest picks in the draft. At the end of the day, this young man is destined for great things in the NHL.
He has drawn comparisons to the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Kevin Bieksa and even Rob Blake; all incredibly high praise for a defenseman yet to be drafted. Expect Reinhart to make his own mark in the NHL, introducing himself to his opponents this way, “The name’s Griffin, and I’m about to make your life miserable.”
You can follow Griffin Reinhart on Twitter: @GriffinReinhart