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2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Griffin Reinhart

Griffin Reinhart, D
Birthplace: North Vancouver, British Colombia, 2/26/94
Bio: 6’4, 207 lbs., L
Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
Rankings: ISS – 10; CSS – 10 (NA)

The Skinny: Because of his impressive combination of size, skating and skill, Griffin Reinhart is a safe bet to be one of the first defenseman called to the podium in June.

In a year where so many defensemen are in the running for a top-ten selection, Griffin Reinhart stands tall… literally. Unlike in past seasons, where there have been more than a few ‘big’ guys vying for first-round glory, Griffin Reinhart may be one of only a few skaters above 6’3 drafted in the first round (and perhaps a ways beyond). That gives him a huge advantage.

Reinhart is an effective two-way player: mobile, intelligent and aggressive. He’s more than willing to jump into the rush and showcase some impressive wheels. His skating is borderline elite for a player of his size and he is impressive moving laterally as well as north-south. Simultaneously, he’s an effective puck-mover and solid puck-handler.

In the offensive zone, Reinhart has a big blast from the point (one of the best in this draft-class) and is equally effective as a distributor or triggerman on the powerplay.

In his defensive zone, Reinhart is effective using his big wingspan to dispossess opponents and clog passing lanes. His gap-control is solid and his overall positioning is above-average, making him an attractive option, projecting as a shutdown player at the NHL level.

Hockey runs in the Reinhart family veins: Griffin’s father, Paul was an effective defenseman in the NHL for twelve years (Primarily for the Flames); his older brother, Max, was drafted in the third round in 2010 by Calgary and now plays for the Flames AHL affiliate in Abbotsford; his younger brother, Sam, is already a point-per-game player for the Kootenay Ice and regarded as one of 2014’s top prospects.

Sometimes wilting under a heavy forecheck, Reinhart isn’t as flawless with the puck on his stick as some of his draftmates are (like fellow WHLer, Morgan Rielly) but given his size and intelligence he still has tremendous upside in that regard. Some scouts point to his physical game as a flaw as well. You’d like to see more and heavier hitting from a kid his size.

Reinhart may not be the most exciting player projected to go early in 2012 – but his combination of a big frame, mobility and puck skills make him a very safe bet to contribute at the NHL level. He’s frequently compared to and considered alongside the elite top-five blueliners in this draft class (along with Rielly, Trouba, Murray and Dumba) that are all but locks to go in the top-twelve picks. Reinhart is no different and should expect to fall somewhere between picks six and ten.

Ideal Fits: Teams looking to add a safe and sizeable two-way blueliner to their system (i.e., everyone): Anaheim, NY Islanders, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, and Minnesota.

Why Your Team Will Take Him: Because he’s got that rare size/skill/skating combination from the back end that conjures images of some of the game’s best defensemen.

Why Your Team Will Pass on Him: His ‘timid’ play has some worried about the transition to the NHL and some regard his upside as significantly less than several of his rivals.

Strengths: Size, Skating, Shooting, Puck-Moving, Playmaking, Defensive Acumen

Weaknesses/Concerns: Physicality, Competitiveness, Consistency, Poise

Projection: Number 2 or 3 two-way defenseman with shutdown capabilities (10g, 45p potential)

Predicted 2012 NHL Draft Range: First Round, 6-10

Overall Rank: 9

N.A. Rank: 7

WHL Rank: 4

Defenseman Rank: 4

Canadian National Rank: 4

Bob is the Boston Bruins correspondent for The Hockey Writers and a credentialed member of the Providence Bruins' Media.

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