Thursday, 15 December 2011
12/15/11 Griffin Reinhart Could Have An Extended Stay In Edmonton
If the NHL season were to end before Thursday night's action, the Oilers - despite their improved play over last year - would finish in 22nd place. That would give them the 9th overall pick in the draft, and this is a draft that is rich in defensemen.
Over at the Copper and Blue, December's Consensus Top 100 draft eligible players list is out. This list takes the rankings of a number of sources into account and it should be considered a good picture of how players are being seen right now. Nine of the top 15 players on the list are defensemen, which is an area where the Oilers could still use some star power.
If the Draft was today, then the Consensus 100 list would see the Oilers selecting Griffin Reinhart. It could be a very good fit, considering that Reinhart already plays in Edmonton for the Oil Kings. The scouts wouldn't have far to go to get a lot of good looks at the young defender, and it doesn't hurt his case that he's playing with some pieces of the Oilers' future in Kristians Pelss and Martin Gernat.
Incidentally, Pelss is starting to come into his own offensively this season with 13-11-24 +20 in 32 games. Pelss had 14 goals all of last year. Gernat's plus/minus is even better at +23 (tied for the team lead) and he's posted 7-18-25 in 31 games. The Oil Kings have won ten straight and sit atop the WHL's Eastern Conference.
The Oilers have the horses to stay out of the basement this year, so the scouts will probably be taking a lot of looks at defenders who are expected to go sometime in the 5-20 range of the first round. On the other hand, we've seen some very highly rated defensemen plummet on draft day in recent years. Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley were in the top-five conversation and fell to 12th and 13th overall respectively in 2010. In the 2011 Draft, Ryan Murphy slipped to 12th, and Dougie Hamilton made it to the ninth spot. The Oilers may get lucky with a player like this in 2012, but then again all the teams that passed on Cam Fowler will be wary of making the same mistake.
As for Reinhart, he's got 6-11-17 +11 in 25 games with the Oil Kings this season, and he's already a big body at 6'4" and 202 pounds. Could he be a player in the Shea Weber mould? Time will tell. For now, we know that Reinhart is big, mobile and has a good shot; attributes that made him the 3rd overall pick in the WHL Bantam Draft by the Oil Kings. He's now a big part of the turnaround of one Edmonton hockey team.
Perhaps he will stick around for another.