Hockey fans in and around the WHL will get plenty of opportunities to watch former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart’s sons over the next few seasons. Griffen, physically the biggest of the three Reinharts playing in the WHL right now, has been a highly-ranked prospect for much of the current campaign.
In fact, Reinhart is the biggest defenseman among the elite players at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Kelowna. He checks in at 6’4 and 202 pounds, already looking like he would fit right in on an NHL team’s blueline. Just one week ago, he celebrated his 18th birthday.
Selected in the first round, third overall, by the Edmonton Oil Kings at the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Reinhart was chosen to play for Team WHL at the Subway Series back in November, but missed the game due to a wrist injury. Participating in special events is not new to Reinhart, a West Vancouver native who has long been on the Hockey Canada radar. He was a member of Team Pacific at the 2011 World U17 Challenge and also won a gold medal as a member of Team Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament.
His brother Max, drafted in 2010 by the Calgary Flames, and Sam, who is only 16 and thus eligible for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, are teammates with the Kootenay Ice. Max did not play in a Top Prospects Game, but many are waiting eagerly for Sam to continue building on his impressive offensive start this season in the WHL.
For Griffen, his primary focus this season and for the remainder of his junior career is to improve his skating, including both his mobility and acceleration. With his size, he already covers the ice well, but he is confident that highly-regarded power skating expert Vanessa Hettinger will be a valuable contributor.
Griffen, known around the Oil Kings dressing room as “Big Cat”, has appeared in 37 games this season, scoring 11 times and adding 14 assists. Edmonton appears poised to make a deep playoff run this season as they currently lead the Eastern Conference standings.
Note: HF, along with Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier, interviewed Reinhart on opening night at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.