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West Vancouver's Reinhart set to join the family business
Griffin Reinhart doesn’t pay attention to online NHL mock drafts.
If he did, he’d know that on TSN’s mock draft by Craig Button, a former NHL general manger, he’s projected to be the seventh overall pick at the draft in Pittsburgh on June 22.
Sure, it’s just a pretend draft, but it’s a fairly good indicator that the West Vancouver-raised defenceman who plays for the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings is going to be a high first-rounder.
“Didn’t know that,” Reinhart says, when told of Button’s prognostication.
“Honestly, I haven’t even seen one this year. I have heard from various people, but I’ve never gone and looked it up myself.”
But it’s not just the former GM of the Flames who’s got the six-four, 200-pound West Vancouver blueliner ranked in the top 10.
In the final NHL Central Scouting Ranking of North American players, Reinhart was ranked tenth.
But wherever he’s picked, he won’t be the first in the family selected at the NHL draft.
His father Paul was selected 12th overall by the Atlanta Flames in 1979. Older brother Max was taken 64th by the Calgary Flames in 2010. His youngest brother, Sam, currently plays for the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice and could be the next NHL-bound Reinhart when he attends the 2014 draft.
But right now, Griffin Reinhart’s not envisioning hearing his name being called out at the draft just yet.
He’s focused on other things, like training.
This morning, the 18-year-old is going to North Vancouver’s Level 10 Fitness were he trains with brothers Max and Sam.
Last week, after recently competing in the Memorial Cup, Reinhart was at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, where the NHL’s 30 teams got to meet potential draftees.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” says Reinhart, who tallied 36 points for the Oil Kings this season.
But it kind of blurred by. In just two days Reinhart had 20 interviews with NHL clubs and underwent a battery of fitness testing.
“Everyone is watching you when you are doing the testing so it’s a bit intimidating,” he admits.
At least the wait for the draft is almost over.
Reinhart has imagined playing pro since he was in pewee, but it wasn’t until he was a top pick in the WHL’s bantam draft that he realized he had the potential to be an NHLer.
His dad, who played 11 seasons in the NHL, including two with the Vancouver Canucks, has had a significant impact on his career.
“I’m pretty close with my parents so after every game I call my mom and dad, and we’ll talk, not just about the game. He’ll give me advice after every game, ever since minor hockey. And all of this year and last year in the WHL. He’s given me a lot of advice on the little things in the game and that’s what’s helped me the most.”
But growing up, he never got a chance to see his dad play live.
“He had to retire when he was 29 because of a back injury so we never got to see him play,” says Reinhart.
Recently, though he got a chance to see his dad play on TV.
“It was almost funny seeing him play — we play pretty similar,” he says.
Reinhart played minor hockey for West Van’s Hollyburn — along with Morgan Rielly, who is also a highly touted prospect in the 2012 draft — and also attended Sentinel secondary’s hockey academy.
Growing up, Reinhart admired former Canucks Ed Jovanovski, who was a friend of the family but Reinhart wasn’t old enough at the time to really benefit from any tips from the all-star defenceman. “When he got traded, we were still pretty young, so it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.”
Of current NHL blueliners, he can’t pick one that he plays like exactly, but says “the closest would be like a Shea Webber.”
On NHL draft day, all the Reinharts plan to be in the arena in Pittsburgh, including his two hockey-playing brothers.
“Yeah, we’re very close,” he says. “We keep in contact quite a bit.”
At the moment, Reinhart says he doesn’t have any draft-day jitters. Last year his agent brought him and some other prospects to the draft, so he has an idea what to expect.
“It might be different when I actually get there and it starts sinking in more,” he admits. “I think when I’m there it will be a bit different.”