2014 Draft Prospect Profile #3 -- Sam Reinhart
A scoring phenom with a wealth of international experience and leadership credentials at the ripe old age of eighteen, Sam Reinhart is impressing as much with his character and intangibles as he is with his formidable ability on the ice.
Current Team: Kootenay Ice, WHL
Date of Birth: November 6, 1995
Place of Birth: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Weight: 183 lbs
Sometimes numbers don't lie, and such is the case with Sam Reinhart. His 36-69-105 totals in just 60 games for the WHL's Kootenay Ice speak volumes. Despite a late birthday that theoretically places the 18 year-old at a disadvantage against his peers, he has had no trouble distinguishing himself. He wears the "C" for Kootenay, set the club record for assists this season, and earned MVP honors in the WHL this season, also a first for a Kootenay player.
While Reinhart was slotted at center for the Ice this season, he played right wing at the World Juniors, and appears to effortlessly adapt to either the center or winger role. Though not a speedster in the classic sense, he has quickness and agility, enabling him to find space and time, and use it to his advantage. He's deadly with either the shot or the pass, can play virtually any position on the power play, and possesses hockey sense and leadership well beyond his years. He was ranked fourth in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings for North American skaters, and first in the ISS final rankings.
Those who have watched the youngster develop are unanimous in their view of both his abilities and his future:
"First of all, he's a good kid . . .he comes from a hockey pedigree family. . . But, as good as he is in junior -- and he's a special, special player -- he'll be a better pro when he's playing with better players. . . His hockey sense is off the charts." - Jeff Chynoweth, General Manager, Kootenay Ice
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. He's a quality individual with good character and leadership qualities as well, so not only is the skill there, but he brings some very valuable intangibles. -- ISS Head Scout Ross MacLean
. . he plays a consistent and steady style that I think will make him a productive NHL player for many years. Sam also showed that he can raise the pace of his play when he has to . . . Sam has the smarts and offensive tools to be a big-time producer in the offensive zone, and the maturity and character to play his coach asks of him. --- Zenon Herasymiuk, Head Western Scout for Future Considerations
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Scoring . . . maturity . . . character . . consistency. Are you serious? That blend of qualities has to be in the top five on the Blue Jackets' list of attributes for the draft. As impressive as the numbers and the skills are, it is the intangibles that make him stand out from the other youngsters. Chynoweth analogized his hockey sense to Gretzky's, and everyone pegs him as somebody who will make an immediate -- and continuing impact -- in the NHL.
Thought the Blue Jackets set a team record for scoring this season, consistency was a major issue, and the club frequently lacked enough of that innate "hockey sense" to move the puck quickly and play with the speed that Richards craves. Reinhart could go a long way toward filling that gap. He has some room to fill out his frame, but Chynoweth says flat-out that he does not expect to see Reinhart back in the WHL. Since he's too young for the AHL, that leave only the Big Dance.
As with the others covered so far, Jarmo Kekalainen would have to make a big move up from the #16 slot to bag Reinhart -- likely one of the top three slots. For my money, Reinhart would be worth exploring the possibilities.
Reinhart in Action