Prospect Profile: Sam Reinhart
It’s a little early in the season to count any teams truly out of the playoff picture. Still, there is already a clear division in the standings between the true playoff teams and the squads that will be fighting it out for the first overall selection in the 2014 NHL draft. The conversation as to who will go No. 1 is heated at this point, and there won’t likely be a clear-cut top selection this year, just like it has been in recent seasons.
Still, when talking about the top prospects heading into the draft, Sam Reinhart should be one of the first names mentioned. The youngest Reinhart brother could be the best of the bunch, and will likely be the highest selected out of his siblings.
The bloodlines are strong, and Reinhart already knows what to expect in the NHL because of his brothers, who will be invaluable to his development moving forward. Of course it’s his play out on the ice, and not his relations, that are turning so many heads.
Reinhart has created a buzz because of his outstanding hockey IQ and willingness to battle in front of the net and in the corners. That combination isn’t seen all too often, and it’s that kind of killer instinct that makes players like Sidney Crosby and Shea Weber so special. While Reinhart doesn’t have the same ceiling as Crosby, there’s no denying his talent and tenacity out on the ice.
Through 12 games with the Kootenay Ice, Reinhart has already posted 23 points. He put up 85 points in 72 games last year and could break the 100-point barrier in 2013-14. International Scouting Services head scout Ross MacLean had this to say on Reinhart and his game:
He’s a great offensive thinker with great skills and a natural nose for scoring goals. He’s a very smart playmaker who can really control his time and space well around the puck. He’s got a great release on his shot, a release that reminds me a lot of James Neal. He has a natural ability to adapt to his surroundings and seems to build chemistry quickly with whomever he lines up with.
The biggest plus for Reinhart at this point might be his attitude. We’ve all seen the top-end prospects that don’t pan out because of a lack of worth ethic or a lack of intangibles. Reinhart won’t be one of those players. He’s an outstanding leader on the ice and makes everyone around him better.
With teams like the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers tanking about because of a lack of goal scoring, Reinhart might just be the light at the end of the tunnel for one of those basement-dwelling teams.