This weekend the Oilers made multiple deals involving the draft but the one on Friday grabbed my attention the most in which they sent the #16 and #33 picks to the NY Islanders in exchange for 21 year old defenseman and former Edmonton Oil King Griffin Reinhart. My initial reaction to this was:
With 2012 being a weaker draft year, where would Griffin Reinhart’s 10th place spot in those rankings put him in 2015? A big, physical shutdown defenseman like Reinhart would not slot on my rankings ahead of Crouse (13) or Zacha (14) which means in my eyes he is best a 15th overall pick in a strong draft year. In my eyes, Reinhart should not have been taken 4th overall and should not be judged as one since it is not his fault the Islanders took him too high in 2012. Meanwhile Matt Barzal was the 7th ranked player on my Blue Bullet 2015 Draft Guide and is a talented player with the potential to be a 50-70 point playmaking centre. A player with that type of upside is a lot to give up for Griffin Reinhart but you have to consider that you are also paying for Reinhart’s three years of development since the 2012 draft. Therefore, trading the #16 straight up for Reinhart is fair value for a player type that I would have ranked 15th in the 2015 draft. While it was tough to see the Oilers pass on Barzal, it is the overpayment of adding in the 33rd overall pick that hurts the most. Garth Snow has since said he does not make the trade unless Barzal is there, so obviously that was the goal for the Islanders in the trade and I speculate that the #33 pick could have been Snow seeing what else he could squeeze from Chiarelli. I can only conclude that the Oilers were the aggressor in this trade and like any good goalie, Snow outwaited the shooter. As for the 33rd pick, the NY Islanders ended up trading it to Tampa Bay who selected Mitchell Stephens. If I was the head of scouting, the #33 pick would be my best player available in Daniel Sprong. Sprong is one of the top offensively talented players of the entire 2015 draft class but fell to 46th to the Penguins due to issues about the rest of his game. It will be interesting to watch the development of Barzal and Sprong as that will ultimately determine who won this trade in my eyes. For now Garth Snow and the New York Islanders are the winners but will that viewpoint change for me in five years? For now we wait.
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM REINHART
Now that Reinhart is part of the Oilers, what type of player should Oilers fans expect? To do this I will compare him against statistically similar CHL defensemen that were chosen in the top 20 from the 1998-2009 draft years. For comparing defenseman I use an adjusted points total for defenseman which is:
Even Strength Points + Shorthanded Points + 58% of their Power Play Points
These ratios were determined by taking every CHL defenseman drafted between 1998 and 2006 that played 250+ NHL games before the 2014-2015 season and comparing that group of player’s average PP and average non-PP points per game in juniors against the group’s average for their best NHL season.
Griffin Reinhart’s adjusted point total for the 2011-2012 WHL season prorated over an 82 game season is 12G-25A-37P. For comparable defenseman, I have chosen to look at every CHL d-man taken in the top 20 between 1998 and 2009 that has an adjusted points total between 25 and 50 points. Those 12 seasons leaves us with these 19 comparable players for Griffin Reinhart:
Reinhart is in the middle of the pack of a group of defenseman, which for the most part were projected to be big physical shutdown d-men (Hickey is an exception as he was drafted as a small puck-moving defenseman). Out of the 19 comparable d-men, 81% went on to play over 100+ NHL games which means that there is a good chance that Reinhart will also be a useful NHL defenseman. However, do not expect big point totals, as the median career points per game of these 19 players is 0.225 (18 points per 82 games).
Now if we take a look at the season after a defenseman is drafted, we usually expect to see a jump in their offensive production, as their ice time increases and their power play production spikes. Using the same adjusted point totals, these are the results.
Note: Hickey was removed from the list due to size, Schenn made the immediate jump to the NHL and since the update to the QMJHL website I cannot find game summaries for prior seasons, which is why Bourdon is not on the list.
In the season after his draft year, Reinhart saw a slight decrease in his adjusted point totals and fell back to 13th out of the 17 players listed. While it was not a horrible decrease in point production (see Alex Plante) it hints at the fact that Reinhart has limited offensive upside and is unlikely to be a large point producer at the NHL. While in his draft season, Reinhart’s numbers projected better than Phaneuf or Staal but both players past him by in the following season. If we look at the combined point totals from the two seasons these are the numbers:
DRAFT SEASON/ DRAFT SEASON +1 COMBINED
Note: For NHL games played and points, I have listed the totals of each player after three seasons from the time they were drafted so to make it comparable to Reinhart.
- To narrow down the list to the most comparable players, I chose to keep only the players that are within +/- 20% of Reinhart’s adjusted point total of 71. This removes Klesla, Skoula, Jackman, Colaiacovo and Plante from the list of comparable defenseman.
- We should also remove players that already demonstrated by the third season after their draft year, that their offensive ability will translate to the NHL level. In this case of Seabrook and Phaneuf both players had incredible rookie seasons straight out of juniors.
- Another d-man that can be removed from the list is Colten Teubert, as he is the only defenseman of the group that was not given a cup of coffee in the NHL by this time. For those Oilers fan worried we have the next Teubert, anybody who has seen the two play will notice a large difference in hockey IQ with Reinhart being the superior player
- Wishart is another player that should be removed from the list as his style of play is not comparable with Reinhart. Wishart, while big and mobile, was not known as a shutdown physical defenseman and had issues with work ethic and hockey sense.
- There are seven comparable defenseman that are left from the list but I would like to trim it down to a top 5 so I will remove the best player from the group in Staal and the worst player in Mezei. This leaves us with a top 5 consisting of:
There are no superstars in the group but there are some good d-men and we should expect Reinhart to project to have similar value as a #4-5 physical shutdown defenseman. The five players listed above (Alzner, Morrisonn, Sbisa, Cowen and Allen) have career point per game totals that range from 0.158 Pts/G (13 Pts/82 GP) to 0.198 Pts/G (16 Pts/82 GP) which is the numbers we should expect Reinhart to fall under as well. For those Oilers fans expecting a top pairing shutdown defenseman they should hold their expectations back while those claiming Reinhart is the next Teubert should lighten up a little. The truth lies in the middle.