In a rather surprising move the Oilers have traded picks 16 and 33 to the Islanders for Griffin Reinhart. And they did it with a number of quality prospects including Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor and Evgeny Svechnikov with still available. Yes, this is a move that will be questioned. Honestly, they'd have probably been better off trading this pick for a goalie.
Edmonton fans are no doubt familiar with Griffin Reinhart since he spent his entire junior career playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 2012 the Islanders took Reinhart in the draft three picks after the Oilers took Nail Yakupov. So at first glance trading a mid first round pick and a second for him might seem like a great deal but, like Yakupov, Reinhart has fallen a little short of expectations in the years that followed.
Last season was Reinhart's first as a pro and he spent most of it playing with the Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport playing 59 games with the Tigers; recording a 7-15-22 scoring line to go along with 64 penalty minutes. He also spent eight games in the NHL and recorded his first career point. Hardly the kind of numbers that will make fans sit up an take notice. Of course Reinhart was never a big offensive threat, maxing out at 36 points during his draft season, so that's not an entirely fair way to measure him.
A couple of scouting reports from 2012 shed some light on who Reinhart is. Courtesy of Defending Big D:
Scouting Report (Mid Term Rankings)
Reinhart continues to be a prospect that you wish just could be physical more often, and while that aspect of his game can be frustrating, he still has a number of tools which make him a high-end prospect. Reinhart has a very heavy point shot and makes good first passes while being equally effective in the offensive and defensive ends. Has a good feel for when to jump into the rush. Reinhart at times seems disinterested in the game and could benefit from showing more competitiveness and emotion in his game. He's got all the tools to be a high-end NHL defenseman, but he needs to use them more consistently.
Reinhart comes from good bloodlines as he is the son of former Calgary Flames Defenceman Paul Reinhart. Reinhart is already 6'4 and over 200 lbs, he is huge, and is a physically intimidating presence in the defensive zone. He's a heavy, hitter and is physically punishing to opposition forwards. Reinhart is a true shut down defenceman, with excellent positioning in the his own zone, and his big frame and long stick allow him to block shots and cut down passing lanes. He also uses his great size and strength to keep the Oil Kings' crease clear, and is very effective in doing so.
Basically Reinhart is good at a lot of things but not great at anything. He's big but he's not a particularly great skater. At 18 those are the kind of things you can look past and think that maybe he can be more than he appears, at 21 you're a little less sure about that. If he was showing well in the AHL you could defend this move a little more, but as it stands it's a tough one to understand. Right now this seems like a very high price to pay for a so-so prospect.
In the end though, this move might be judged more by the careers of the players that the Oilers didn't draft, players like Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor and Evgeny Svechnikov, than by the career of the player that they traded for. What the Oilers passed up were some very good forward prospects, and what they got was defenceman who so far hasn't shined as a pro. If that proves to be the wrong choice questions will understandably be asked.
Was Bob Green, ex of the Oil Kings whispering in Chiarelli's ear? We'll probably never know, but if he was and this doesn't work out that won't be a good first impression to make with the new boss. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.