Flames Top 15 Prospects 2013: #5 Max Reinhart

Max Reinhart
– pic via Jason Kurylo

Three years ago, the Flames entered the NHL Draft with a problem. They had zero picks in the first two rounds of the draft – having traded their first away for Olli Jokinen and their second for Rene Bourque. With no picks in the “important” rounds of the draft, the scouting staff dug into their bag of tricks when the club went to the podium at 64th overall.

They grabbed former Flame Paul Reinhart’s eldest son, Max, with that pick. Three years hence, that pick is making the scouts look pretty smart.

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  Justin Ryan Kent Hayley BoL
Reinhart 6 4 9 5 8

Reinhart has three sons. It’s been said by some scouts that the youngest (Sam) got Paul’s offensive talent, the middle son (Griffin) got his size and physicality and his eldest (Max) got his father’s ability to read a game and his work ethic. Looking at the last three seasons of Max Reinhart’s play, it’s hard not to agree with that basic assessment. It’s not entirely complete, but it says quite a bit.

Reinhart was a good, but not quite great, junior player. He was invited to World Junior camp during his last junior season but didn’t make the team. He was one of the key players for the Kootenay Ice during his tenure, playing in just about every situation for a club that won a WHL Championship and competed in the Memorial Cup tournament. Even as post-draft player, Reinhart was never an elite offensive machine – his production topped out at 78 points in 61 games during his last junior year – but he was relied upon heavily by the Ice for his leadership and ability to hit, shoot, pass and block shots.

During the lockout season this year, Reinhart made the jump to the pros. He was initially a bottom-six guy for Abbotsford and got eaten alive to start the season. He gradually adjusted and became a better bottom-six player before the lockout ended and he began getting top-six minutes. Prior to the start of the NHL season, Reinhart had just 3 points and a minus-12 rating in 37 games. After the NHL season began, he improved 18 points (and a minus-14 rating) in 30 games.

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Reinhart was the only major call-up after the trade deadline who didn’t make an appearance at the shortened training camp – Carter Bancks was up for a pair of games at the end of the year and also didn’t appear at camp. Playing in 11 NHL games at the end of the campaign, Reinhart was used in a lot of different situations and generally looked pretty good, garnering three points.

If he plays as well at training camp as he did during his end-of-year audition, he’ll be a strong candidate for a bottom-six spot in Calgary. If not, he’ll likely get top-six minutes in Abbotsford. The key to Reinhart’s success will be continuing to add some muscle to his frame, as he’s a smart two-way player who reads the game extremely well, but he’s a bit too small to successfully battle in traffic the way he did in junior.


Three years ago, Max Reinhart was Calgary’s first pick in the 2010 draft. Today, he looks like a pretty smart choice. He began the 2012-13 season as a bit of a question mark. He progressed from being an iffy AHL third-liner to being a pretty good second line player, to being an NHLer for 11 games and not looking out of place.

The next step for Max Reinhart is to prove that he can progress from being an 11-game NHLer to being an everyday player in the show who can help his team win games. Given his lackluster offensive totals in his first full AHL season, Reinhart is in danger of becoming a perpetual tweener unless he can take few, firm steps forward. If he can do that, Reinhart has the smarts to become a potentially useful 3d line, PK type pivot down the road.

Flames top 15 Prospects 

  • DoubleDIon

    I thought he looked out of place in his call up. I like Max, but definitely didn’t think he looked like an NHLer during his call up. He looked like a guy who will become an NHLer given more time, but not like a guy ready at that moment.

  • DoubleDIon

    All things considered Backlund probably tops out as a second line center, and on a really good team would be the third line pivot.

    Going forward the Flames have to be thinking that Lindholm / Monahan become the eventual first line center, with Backlund following in the number two spot.

    Now comes the interesting battles for the young prospects. Reinhart, Arnold, and Knight are probably the three prospects that are best suited to slot into the third line role. Its too bad that Arnold is going back to BC because it would have been nice to watch the three of them battle this summer for the position on the team.

    If the Flames draft Monahan this week then they will probably continue to use Backlund on the first line, Stajan on the second line, and then it will come down to how well Monahan plays compared to Knight and Reinhart for the third line pivot spot.

    Right now without having watched Knight and just based on what I have read it would look like it might be in Reinhart’s best interest to go down to the Heat and play top six minutes and work on his offense rather than ending up as a fourth line center with limited playing time.

    Have to believe that this means that Horak has to get moved to the wing if he is going to play in the NHL.

  • Parallex

    I think he should definetly NOT be at the NHL level next year, he needs more AHL seasoning (I also think he’ll end up on a checking line in the NHL). #5 seems awfully high for a guy that (IMO) has a lower ceiling without conversly having a high floor (unlike Bouma I don’t see Reinhart as a surefire NHL’er). I guess I kind of see him turning into a Freddie Sjostrom type checker except at center and not on the wing.

    • Pretty down on the kid a little too much. Personally I saw a lot of things from Max that I really liked & this kid just may make you eat your condemning words. Sometimes it just takes a little longer, I recall many wanting to run Backlund out of town for a bag of pucks.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Bullish for a 4th round pick, perhaps. I recall general consensus was that Brodie might have 2nd pairing upside, and would at least be a good 5th dman. Nobody, literally nobody I had read anything from, predicted he’d blow right through that upside and into the “potential top pairing” category. And certainly not this rapidly.

        • Burnward

          Brodie has been pretty much impossible to project since forever. I’ve always been very high on him, but even I thought his ceiling was as a very good #3 dman because I wasn’t sure what his defensive upside was.

          Then I saw a few Heat games this year. He was invariably the best player on either team. I remember discussing his upside with Kent during the lockout, and we came to the conclusion that he might be like a Paul Martin– ~below average 1st pair. Then he walked into the NHL and played top pair minutes after Bouwmeester was dealt. As a 22 year old.

          Basically, Brodie’s done nothing but exceed expectations since the moment he was drafted.

  • Parallex

    Pretty sad when a guy who has played only 1 year of pro is dubbed as being “in danger of becoming a perpetual tweener.” Seriously, give the guy a break. Reinhart definitely needs at least 1 more season, maybe even 2 in the AHL. It really just shows how shallow Calgary’s prospect pool is.

    Ditto for people expecting our 1st pick this year to play in the NHL. There’s ZERO need for it and I’d rather Calgary fill holes with pluggers until the young guys are actually ready to earn their NHL spots. Not to mention the savings on ELCs. And I’m not saying “Detroit Red Wings over-ripe ready” either. But rushing these guys in, whether it’s a Monahan, Lindholm, Reinhart, Gaudreau or otherwise will just backfire on the team. Let’s not be the NYI. Take the time and do it right the 1st time.

  • Wait, the Flames spent a 1st on acquiring Jokinen? Was that the first or second time?

    Holy crap this team has been poorly managed.

    Re: Reinhart. Give him time. If he can play third or fourth line C and move the puck north, all the better. Flames won’t have to go out and pay/trade for that talent.

    Bring in one of his brothers. That might improve his stats/game/WHATEVER just from having a familiar person (a la Staals/Schenns).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I liked Reinhart’s time in the NHL. I didn’t think he looked bad or even out of place. What struck me was he speed, and unfortunately not in a good way. Not slow, just average. Admittedly, given he’s Paul’s son I was expecting a bit more of a top end.

    Have to agree with The-Wolf, let him and all the kids develop in Abby for awhile, there’s no reason to ruin their careers by rushing them, and burning a year of ELC.

    • I’m no capologist but I’m pretty sure the ELC thing is irrelevant. He played more than 10 games and at his age I don’t think the contract slides anyway. You can’t just bury players in the minors until you are ready, eventually the ELC stops sliding. I think… Pretty sure.

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

        • seve927

          Some people think the ELC slides in the AHL because it can. It can slide a maximum of two years, and not past the age of 20. So it happens pretty rarely. Most kids that get signed right away play in the NHL within a year, or spend two years in junior. But there are examples that prove that it can slide in the AHL (Slava Voynov drafted 2008, played next three seasons in Manchester, ELC slid two years).

          At any rate, I don’t think CA was talking about Reinhart (his contract will definitely not slide, he’s already burned a year), just the prospects in general. I don’t see any reason to have that first pick playing with the Flames next year. Bad for development and bad for cap management in years to come.

        • gotommygo

          According to CapGeek.com:

          ‘If a player aged 18 or 19 signs an entry-level contract with a club (with his age calculated on Sept. 15 of the year he signed the contract) but does not play in at least 10 NHL games, the contract will “slide” or be extended one year. The extension does not apply if the player turns 20 between Sept. 16 and Dec. 31 in the year he signed the contract.’

          Looks like it is restricted to just NHL games. I was under the impression that AHL games counted toward this as well, but I guess not. I still don’t quite understand this. What about players that get signed, play in the AHL but never play in the NHL (Ryan Howse, Bryan Cameron, etc). Their contracts didn’t slide.

          Still, doesn’t apply to Reinhart.

          • seve927

            “Still, doesn’t apply to Reinhart.”

            Or Baertschi. There are some folks around here who loudly complain that the Flames burned a year off his ELC when it would have been “burned” whether he played in the AHL or NHL.

          • seve927

            I didn’t hear anyone complain about it. If you’re talking about me, I’ve repeatedly asked the question, but no one ever came up with the answer. The paragraph quoted by gotommygo seems to indicate that Sven would have met the criteria for his contract to slide. He was 18 on Sept 15 of the year he signed the contract. I don’t think Sven’s will have any impact – if they’re in cap trouble in three years, they’re going to have lots more problems 4 or 5 years down the road. So I certainly wasn’t complaining, but I can’t see why there isn’t consensus on whether his contract would have slid or not.

          • seve927

            With Howse, they didn’t sign him until the next year (drafted 2009, signed 2010), and his ELC slid the following year, and kicked in when he turned 20. Cameron was 21 when he signed.

          • gotommygo

            ‘With Howse, they didn’t sign him until the next year (drafted 2009, signed 2010), and his ELC slid the following year, and kicked in when he turned 20. Cameron was 21 when he signed.’

            Yes, those two were a bad example, as I mentioned in the post right after that one 🙂

            As for Baertschi, I agree with you, seems to me that his contract could have slid this season had he not played more than 10 NHL games, based on the definition on Capgeek.

  • Burnward

    He showed a great motor, solid awareness and huge compete level. He won’t be a top-six guy but is exactly the kind of guy that winning teams need in the bottom six to drive possession and give other teams fits. No rush on him, but he has the makings of a solid player for a lot of years for us.

  • beloch

    I thought Reinhart looked a bit out of place at first, but improved rapidly. Of course, looking like a NHL’er on a team that’s clearly out of the playoffs is easier than looking like a NHL’er on a team where the other players actually give a crap about the games they’re playing. Heck, Akim Aliu looked a bit like a NHL’er in a couple of the games he played at the end of the last two seasons, aside from his near total lack of discipline and horrible skating.

    The Flames have several centers ready to play on the third and fourth line. Reinhart will certainly challenge for a place on the team, but another year in the AHL wouldn’t kill his development. There’s plenty of reason to think he’ll benefit from another season in the AHL and could make the big team in 2014/2015, if not sooner as a call-up. I sincerely doubt it’s curtains for his career if he winds up in Abbotsford come October.

  • During the lockout I saw a few heat games as I live in Vancouver. Of the games I saw I can only vividly remember one moment… Heat were killing a penalty and Rienhart had the puck for a good 30 seconds in the offensive zone skating circles around the Nucks farm team, Chicago wolves. I was not more impressed with any player on the Heat, Brodie included, out of the 5 or so games I saw.

  • RexLibris

    With the Flames center depth chart right now, Reinhart would probably be best served by spending most of this season in the AHL. He could be first call-up depending on injuries, free-agency, and performances out of training camp.

    However, if we were to assume that the Flames took Monahan at the draft and did the responsible thing of returning him to junior for another year, that would mean running Stajan, Backlund, Knight and perhaps a UFA center down the middle. While no coach is going to lose sleep game-planning for that roster, it isn’t one to necessarily be ashamed of and for the purpose of this coming season would probably be the most realistic.

    That is unless Feaster wants to trade for Shawn Horcoff. 😉

    Seriously though, I think the team needs to aim for Backlund to become a 2nd line center, with Reinhart and Knight developing into 3rd and 4th liners in time, depending on their development. That at least means that each player is likely playing in a role and level at which they can best succeed.

      • RexLibris

        I’d give the 1st line job to Stajan and two veteran wingers like Glencross and Stempniak. Let them eat the tough minutes and let Backlund continue to develop.

        For this season at least the Flames need to feed their veterans to the wolves and not worry about winning. There could yet be something positive to come from Stajan’s time in Calgary.

  • Tenbrucelees

    I think that’s the crux of a lot of this sort of chat about prospects. Everyone likes to proclaim that this guy’s offensive ceiling is 3rd line or that guy will make it as a second liner but in reality a) these are just best guesses at this point no matter how much indicative evidence is available (Brodie is just one example of a player not conforming to the general consensus) and b) I’m not even sure I understand what a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th line player correlates to. I’d be interested in some definitions.

  • gotommygo

    Bad example. Both of those guys (Howse and Cameron) were 20 when they signed. I guess the rub is that if you come from the CHL, you can’t play in the AHL until you are 20 years old, so AHL games really don’t apply to them.

    Might be relevant for European players or former NCAA players that are playing in the AHL, however.

    • Parallex

      bingo. ortio’s contract slid when he went back to europe the year before his 20th. but ncaa prospects who are going back to school can’t play in the ahl because of ncaa eligibility rules.

          • SmellOfVictory

            Yup. It’s just relatively rare for a Euro player to be given the “cup of coffee” treatment, since it’s a bigger pain in the ass to send them back to their farm league.

      • gotommygo

        So by that same token, if the Flames draft one of Lindholm, Nikushkin, or Barkov (that’d be nice), they could conceivably bring him over, have him play 9 games for the Flames and the rest of their games with the Heat, then the contract would slide. Interesting to know.

        A moot point. Lindholm is staying in Europe another year, Nikushkin won’t play in the AHL, and we’re not going to get Barkov.