2012-13 Reasonable Expectations: Max Reinhart

Ryan Pike
August 27 2012 11:32AM

 

 

When the puck drops for the 2012-13 season, all eyes may be on Sven Baertschi as he makes his full-time professional debut. But another very promising young player will also be turning pro – Max Reinhart.

The eldest of three sons of former Flames and Canucks blueliner Paul Reinhart (the others being Islanders pick Griffin and 2014 draft-eligible Sam), Max Reinhart spent his junior career with the Kootenay Ice. While not as offensively gifted as someone like Baertschi, Reinhart still put up strong regular season numbers – posting 235 points in 266 WHL games. He was even better in the 2011 playoffs, racking up 27 points in 19 games en route to a WHL championship and a Memorial Cup appearance.

Reinhart had a cup of coffee with the Abbotsford Heat at the end of year, scoring two goals in the last regular season game and adding two points in four playoff games.

EXPECTATIONS AND COMPARABLES

It's hard to classify Reinhart as a player. At worst, he's shown the ability to be a strong two-way player at the junior level. He also showed some flashes of offensive ability, particularly in the past two years. His best asset, though, is probably his ability to read a game. While not quite as talented as Baertschi, he's arguably a smarter hockey player.

In terms of expectations, let's take a look at a handful of fellow third or fourth round players in their first pro year.

  • Ryan Bourque had 14 points in 68 games with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL

  • Kris Foucault had 32 points in 70 games with the Houston Aeros of the AHL and 0 points in a single game with the Minnesota Wild

  • Adam Henrique had 50 points in 73 games with the Albany Devils of the AHL and 0 points in a single game with New Jersey

  • Lance Bouma had 20 points in 61 games with Abbotsford of the AHL and 1 point in 16 games with the Flames

  • Cody Eakin had 27 points in 43 games with the Hershey Bears of the AHL and 8 points in 30 games with the Washington Capitals

  • Brandon MacMillan had 6 points in 16 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL and 21 points in 61 games with the Anaheim Ducks.

There's a lot of variation here. Internally, there appears to be little doubt that Max Reinhart will be an NHL player someday. Lance Bouma benefited from a weak bottom-six in Calgary, some injury troubles and figuring out how to play an effective game at the NHL level. That's why he spent so much time in the NHL in his first pro year (and why he spent even more time there last season).

Whether Reinhart hits the NHL this season probably depends on how quickly he can adapt to the pros (his short stint in Abbotsford showed a lot of promise) and how many NHL bodies go down due to injury.

OPPORTUNITY

Reinhart can play up the middle or on the wing, and has shown an ability to chip in defensively and offensively. He's also not bad at face-offs. But the problem is that the Flames have a lot of bodies already signed to one-way NHL contracts, along with guys like Roman Cervenka, Lance Bouma, Sven Baertschi and Greg Nemisz.

He'll be given every opportunity to succeed in Abbotsford, but he'll probably stay there unless he radically out-plays some of the other AHL forwards and/or the Flames face an injury out-break similar to last season's.

CONCLUSION

The Flames seem very high on Max Reinhart. Ask anybody in management or hockey operations and they'll rattle off things they like about him. But he's just 20 years old and has all of five pro games under his belt. While the club probably wants to utilize him sooner rather than later, don't expect them to throw him into the deep end quite yet.

In this case, Calgary's forward glut probably will be a boon for Reinhart. He'll have the chance to get some games under his belt and be a leader on the Heat. Don't be too surprised if he gets a call-up, though, particularly if there's an injury in the Flames' bottom-six.

 

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Colin.S
August 27 2012, 11:53AM
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As long as he does better than Ryan Howse did I think we can all agree that it's not a bad start for Reinharts career, Agreed?

Either way I'm thinking 30pts and is a + player. Nice that he actually gets to play hockey, unlike Baertschi, unless he can still play junior while there is no NHL this year.

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#2 Emir
August 27 2012, 12:04PM
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I like the idea of him developing a bit in the AHL before making the jump. Looks to be a player who could become a 2/3 center down the road.

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#3 Austin L
August 27 2012, 12:10PM
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Definately liking Reinhart. I guess if he can translate his game to the NHL, he would probably be somewhere in between a Conroy and a Langkow maybe. At the least he should be a very good top 9 forward.

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#4 Kevin R
August 27 2012, 12:33PM
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Love his game from the few times I've seen him play. If we have a season & any preseason games, I would bet he is the one most likely to a pull a Horak & actually earn his way on the team coming out of the gate. Unfortunately he may not get that chance after Sept 15th! :(

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#5 Kent Wilson
August 27 2012, 12:34PM
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It will be fascinating to see how Reinhart does as a pro this year. Mitch Wahl had similar billing coming out of junior and completely fell on his face as a rookie (literally, in fact, due to a head shot).

Here's hoping Reinhart can avoid something like that and instead take a step forward.

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#6 McRib
August 27 2012, 12:41PM
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Really like the Brandon McMillan comparison, think Reinhart has more offensive upside but both are very intelligent two-way players. Mitch Wahl is not nearly as smart as Max, the adjustment level to pro will be much lower for Max. Still think Wahl's career isn't over, never going to be an everyday NHLer though.

Reinhart's junior numbers really don't tell the whole story in terms of offensive output. Kootenay really was a mediocre team last season, other than his 16 year old brother had very little players to play with. He was 23 points ahead of the next player on his team not named Reinhart.

The most compelling stat of Reinharts 11/12 season was his offensive consistency.....

Only once did Max go more than a game without finding the score sheet and that was just a two game stretch. That is extremely impressive considering his team had a hard time scoring most nights.

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#7 McRib
August 27 2012, 12:58PM
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Considering Max Reinhart played in three more playoff games last year with Abby than Ryan Howse did think its safe to say that we won't have another Howse/Wahl situation. The reason Howse had such a large adjustment at the AHL level is his skating needed serious work (why he was a 3rd rounder and not a first in the nhl draft) and he is not uber intelligent like Max. See Reinhart putting up close to a point a game numbers and first line duty in the AHL. May see some NHL time if any injuries arise late season. NHL bound 2013/2014, future second line centre imo.

Max Reinhart 2011/2012 AHL Stats:GP:5 G:3 A:1 P:4 PPG: 0.80

Ryan Howse 2011/2012 AHL Stats:GP:40 G:6 A:3 P:9 PPG: 0.23

Hahah, Reinhart only needed to play in five more games to match Howse goal totals.

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#9 SmellOfVictory
August 27 2012, 01:07PM
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I still maintain the opinion that Reinhart will outstrip the expectations put on him by a fair amount. I think he could end up being an effective top 6 C, and I'll be interested to see to what extent I'm right, if at all.

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#11 McRib
August 27 2012, 01:22PM
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Watched a lot of Spokane as a couple Calgary area friends were on the Mem Cup team. Mitch Wahl always seemed like an easy to play with good compliment to other players. Drayson Bowman, Tyler Johnson were always the two that stood out for me.

Honestly think Wahl/Howse were two players with decent enough offensive instincts to make it in junior but had no one real great attribute to exceed in the pro's.

Reinhart's hockey senese is through the roof.

Watched him last season and anytime he was on the ice his offensive zone positioning would absolutly hemm teams in their own zone. Wahl/Howse offensive finish in junior might have been a bit better than Reinhart's but Max is going to get into the scoring areas much more often in pro.

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#12 McRib
August 27 2012, 01:31PM
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For me a couple years down the road comparison for Max Reinhart is Darren Helm. Obviously its wishful but Stephen Weiss reminds me of Reinhart at the top end side of things.

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#13 Alt
August 27 2012, 01:51PM
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I,AM thinking top6 as well.I like the comparison to Langkow,and i can see him playing with Baertchi down the road .Let him start in the AHL ,but bring him up sometime next year for a peak.One of Calgary,s best prospects IMO

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#14 Bean-counting cowboy
August 27 2012, 02:00PM
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If he lacks the higher end offensive talent, if nothing else, he will be one of those guys that is "smart" enough to be in the right areas of the offensive zone or the whole rink for that matter - essentially puck posession, or driving the play north if you will.

If he can open up more ice time in the offensive zone for guys like Baertschi, Camalleri, etc. then he is doing his job and is an asset to this team.

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#15 Vintage Flame
August 27 2012, 02:13PM
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Reinhart is one of those guys that just shouldn't be rushed into the Flames line-up.

A year (at minimum) in Abby is going to do wonders with his game, especially under Troy Ward.

Baring any significant injury or a number of them all at once up in Calgary, I don't see Max playing with the Flames this year.

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#16 RexLibris
August 27 2012, 03:27PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

And Reinhart has some wicked hockey hair, especially in an organization that has been devoid of it in recent years.

Backlund also has pretty sick hockey hair, too.

That was at the top of my RE list for Reinhart. Consistency in coiffure.

It's funny, I was looking at a photo of him this morning and I was struck by how similar he looks to a young Ryan Smyth. Maybe it's just the nose/hair combination.

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#17 The Last Big Bear
August 27 2012, 03:58PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

And Reinhart has some wicked hockey hair, especially in an organization that has been devoid of it in recent years.

Backlund also has pretty sick hockey hair, too.

I think this is the main reason why Krys Kolanos earned an NHL contract this season.

You just don't see hockey hair like that any more.

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#18 Jayd54
August 27 2012, 04:14PM
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Not having much myself, so lacking expertise, I will pass on commenting on Mr. Reinhart's follicular appearance. . .!

But as for his hockey ability and expectations for this upcoming season, I would submit that a start to his year at Abbotsford is a very high probability. Further, I think he will end the year on the Flames roster (I am an optimist and think there WILL be a full season. . .) and be a contributor in a playoff run.

I watched him play junior, both live and on television, and saw some of his father's hockey smarts. I also think he has some leadership qualities that will eventually see this young man wear a letter and be a reliable two way pivot centring the second or third line in the NHL.

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#19 Nonothingman
August 27 2012, 08:17PM
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@Colin.S

He can play in the AHL.

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#20 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
August 27 2012, 09:27PM
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@Kent Wilson

Wahl was not quite the two-way player Reinhart is. Furthermore, he was not a gritty player willing to battle like hell along the boards. Reinhart is both.

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#21 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
August 27 2012, 09:34PM
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McRib wrote:

Really like the Brandon McMillan comparison, think Reinhart has more offensive upside but both are very intelligent two-way players. Mitch Wahl is not nearly as smart as Max, the adjustment level to pro will be much lower for Max. Still think Wahl's career isn't over, never going to be an everyday NHLer though.

Reinhart's junior numbers really don't tell the whole story in terms of offensive output. Kootenay really was a mediocre team last season, other than his 16 year old brother had very little players to play with. He was 23 points ahead of the next player on his team not named Reinhart.

The most compelling stat of Reinharts 11/12 season was his offensive consistency.....

Only once did Max go more than a game without finding the score sheet and that was just a two game stretch. That is extremely impressive considering his team had a hard time scoring most nights.

As a fellow WHL fan, I must say you are bang on. Reinhart has never had anything more than mediocre wingers. Sam was good last year, but only a rookie, and hence Max had to play a more defensive role when they were on the ice together.

Nevertheless, Max will never be an offensive force at the NHL level. What he will be is a guy who you can sick on the other team`s top line and still expect to put up 15-25 goals and 40-50 point seasons.

You don`t win championships without guys like him on a team`s second and third lines.

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#22 Sobueno
August 28 2012, 12:32AM
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@RexLibris

The Smyth comparison was the first thing that looped into my head when I started reading the article and saw his picture haha. I'd say if the hockey success is similarly mirrored, I definitely wouldn't be disappointed!

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#23 Steve
August 28 2012, 08:08AM
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Setting up for Staal-like combination down the road. Sam set to get drafted by Edmonton 1st overall in 2014, but wants to play with his brother. Max refuses to go to Edmonton, doesn't want the pressure of playing in the shadow of his biological father. Oilers send the pick south for the rights to negotiate with Stajan before he turns UFA to replace oft-injured RNH.

That'd be pretty cool.

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#24 Kent Wilson
August 28 2012, 10:37AM
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@If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin

I always heard Wahl's main issue was physicality and an inability to fight through the rough stuff.

That said, as early as 17 there were reports that he was consistently deployed against the other team's best players. Over his career in Spokane he was cumulative +98 as well.

Wahl's big selling point coming out of junior was supposed to be his all around game.

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#25 jeremywilhelm
August 28 2012, 01:26PM
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Wahl got his head literally rattled. I am gonna bet it really shook him up and brought a lot of the ridiculous religious stuff out in him. All conjecture, but I think a good guess as to how he fell so extremely out of favour with the organization.

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