Update: Drafted 4th overall by New York Islanders.
Born: 01/24/94, North Vancouver, British Columbia
NHL Central Scouting Rank: #10 North American Skater
Player Pages: NHL - EP - HF - WHL
Griffin Reinhart is a large, mobile two-way defenseman whose greatest asset is his ability to think the game. Already a monster at 6'4, 207, he leaves much to be desired from a physical standpoint. Despite his lack of rattling bodychecks, Reinhart has good passing skills, good defensive awareness, and a hard shot from the point he can get on goal with regularity. He will need to get better at body positioning and learn to be more competitive, but his mobility and reach allow him to make up for some mistakes.
Reinhart's Edmonton Oil Kings went to the Memorial Cup Tournament this season as WHL championns, and Reinhart played a big role. In 58 regular season games, Reinhart posted 12 goals, 36 points, a +23 rating, and 38 PIM. He also posted 8 points and a +14 in 20 playoff games, impressive numbers against the top teams in the WHL. His Memorial Cup tournament didn't go according to plan, as he posted an unsightly -5 rating in 4 games. Reinhart showed he has some work to do against more creative players and systems, but overall his season was excellent.
Reinhart projects to be a top-pairing, 2-way defenseman in the NHL. His ability to control the play from the back end makes him an asset to any team. In a nutshell, Reinhart does just about everything very well, except for average bodychecking and 1-on-1 defending, and he has all the physical tools to play in the NHL. It's only a matter of time until he gets there.
Will the Capitals draft him?:
Steven Hoffner of NHL.com seems to think so, placing him as Washington's first pick at 11th overall. Adam Kimelman places him 7th while Mike Morreale has him at 14th, and The Hockey News puts him at 8. It stands to reason that Reinhart may not be available by the 11th pick. Judging by McPhee's affinity for players from the WHL (30 of 126 draft picks and 7 of 19 first-rounders since 1997) and especially for defensemen from that league (10 of 50 picks in rounds 1-3), the odds on the Caps picking up Reinhart are pretty decent. The lack of physicality didn't stop McPhee from drafting Jeff Schultz, so it stands to reason Reinhart has a good shot, too. The odds get even better considering McPhee gravitates toward players who don't take lots of penalties and with professional athlete parents, as Griffin's father Paul was an NHL defenseman.
Plans for next season:
If the Capitals draft Reinhart, he'll spend at least one more season in the WHL. He'll likely turn pro the next season in the AHL, and he may take two full seasons there before earning a call-up if his defensive positioning does not progress. Chances are he'll get an NHL look in 2014-15 and he will be given a chance to be an NHL regular in 2015.