Reasonable Expectations: Max Reinhart

Paul Reinhart and his wife had three children, all boys. The youngest, Samson, is arguably the most gifted with natural hockey talents. The middle child, Griffin, is arguably the most physically gifted in terms of size and strength. But the eldest child, Maxwell, may be the smartest in terms of hockey IQ.

Max, as he is more commonly called, isn’t big by hockey standards, and he’s not the fastest skater, strongest shooter or passer, nor is he particularly exceptional at any one thing. Except for the fact that he’s whip-smart in terms of the game of hockey. He’s just got a knack for being in the right place and the right time, and for working his tail off to get where he needs to be.

Calgary’s first selection – in the third round – in the 2010 Draft, Reinhart has two professional seasons under his belt following a pretty good junior career. Can he make the jump to full-time NHL work?

Season       Points
NHLE
2009-10 (WHL) 51 17.43
2010-11 (WHL) 79 27.37
2011-12 (WHL) 78 37.46
2012-13 (AHL) 21 11.31
2012-13 (NHL) 3 22.36
2013-14 (AHL) 63 34.44
2013-14 (NHL) 2 20.50

 

Reinhart progressed very steadily throughout his junior career. He began as a shittish 16-year-old and developed into one of the more dependable three-zone players in the Western Hockey League. He wore an A for the Kootenay Ice and mentored his little brother Sam, then made the leap to the professional ranks. He also was able to win a WHL Championship and play for the Memorial Cup (albeit his team didn’t win).

The NHLE for the two NHL stints is basically useless, but it’s somewhat notable that in two short stints Reinhart produced a similar NHLE in spot duty on the third and fourth lines. Weird, eh? He does eventually project as a bottom-six player who produces 20-ish points per season, though.

Reinhart’s first pro season wasn’t great. He was used primarily in a checking and shut-down role and he took awhile to get accustomed to the skill and speed difference between the WHL and the AHL. His plus/minus was pretty awful (MINUS 26). He came up to Calgary after the trade deadline and was just fine. He was a lot better this past season in both leagues.

REINHART’S 2013-14

After being merely “okay” in the American League in 2012-13, Reinhart had a superb sophomore year. He tripled his offensive production and generally seemed to have more pep in his step and more confidence with the puck. Granted, some of that has to be that the Heat gave him more to work with, linemate-wise, than he had in the past. But heck, tripling your points cannot be just “linemate effect.”

Reinhart’s shots on goal went up a tiny bit from 2012-13 to 2013-14 – 2.12 per game to 2.51 per game – but his shooting percentage improved WILDLY, going from a woeful 4.9% up to a more realistic 12.6%. Granted, I doubt he was as bad at shooting as he was two years ago or as good at shooting as he was last year, so the real Max Reinhart probably lies somewhere in the middle. And again, that’s where my pegging of him as a 20-25 NHLE player comes from.

Luckily for Reinhart, he learned how to play the wing last season (and played there a bit during his NHL call-up), as it’ll make it more likely for him to get another sniff in the NHL. When he did come up, he wasn’t noticeable for any bad reasons in a depth role and occasionally made a nice play. Reinhart’s game doesn’t lend itself to flashiness at the NHL level, it seems.

2014-15 EXPECTATIONS

Reinhart is now a bonafide professional hockey player, and he’s had a good deal of success in the AHL. The challenge for him will be to (a) improve upon that and (b) prove that’s not a fluke. And it won’t be easy, as while he’s getting even more help this season and it’s unlikely that he’ll have to carry linemates to offensive glory, it’s also likely that he’ll have to compete with his teammates even more than he did last season.

But again, it’s smart that he can play all three forward positions, as it’ll really help give him a chance to bounce around the line-up and be a Jack-of-All-Trades for new coach Ryan Huska.

If I’m Brad Treliving, I want to see Reinhart at the NHL level at some point in 2014-15, if only to evaluate how much he’s progressing. I’d wager Reinhart splits the year between the NHL and AHL again this season, and his combined NHLE falls somewhere between 25 and 30 points.

  • Parallex

    It would be nice to see Reinhart up for at least 15-20 games so we can see if he’s a keeper or not. There’s likely going to be an avalanche of new faces up in the next couple of years and it would seem to be wise to spread that out. I guess we await injuries…

    PS: Of the brothers his greatest skill is his Hockey IQ? What about “the Einstein” of the draft?

  • seve927

    NHLE for his last year of junior should be 31.46.

    Max actually didn’t start last season all that well. But he finished with 51 points in his last 47 and was +11. That’s an NHLE of 41! Really good season, and I really think he could be moving up for good before the end of the year.

  • redricardo

    “He began as a shittish 16-year-old and developed into one of the more dependable three-zone players in the Western Hockey League”

    Did you just use “shit” as an adjective? Like… you’re saying he was really bad?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I really believe that where the Flames are concerned this is a make or break season for MaxPower. He has to repeat what he’s done or further improve, as a long tenured prospect coming up on RFA status. I think Ryan’s right and we’ll see him a lot on the big team.

  • Burnward

    I’m not sure why he has to prove himself this year or be done. It seems to me that if we are adopting or leaning towards the Detroit model, we should be giving him more time.

    Not that he is Marty St. Louis but Marty didn’t develop into the machine he is until he was a bit older.

    BTW – should that be “skittish” 16 year old?

    • ChinookArchYYC

      The Flames now have a lot of prospect depth within the forward ranks. I like him too, but in the end it’s a numbers game and he has to be great to advance.

      This is obviously a good thing for the Flames future, and all the players currently working on their own game.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        I suspect the Flames look at it that way too but I don’t think they should. Hopefully the decision will be easy because he shows that the Max Reinhart of the last two thirds of the season last year is the real Max Reinhart.

        In any case, if he hasn’t achieved his full potential yet, re-signing him to a RFA contract shouldn’t be overly expensive. The baby Flames can tolerate his presence for another year or two as the Flames should be a little less focused on the forward ranks and a little more focused on defence over the next draft or two (a top two pick in 2015 aside).

        If his true full potential isn’t that high, oh well. If it is better than what it is now, he is a useful piece for someone going forward and the Flames should maximize that value if they are going to trade him or use him.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    “Shittish refers not only to the compulsory teaching of Swedish, but also the requirements for proficiency in Swedish for many government jobs.”

    Seems reasonable.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    People still underrate this guy IMO. To me, he’s a player that will always start out sort of slow, taking time to find his game at each new level. Once he does though, he’s shown to be highly effective. By the time Max hits age 25, I think he wll be an invaluable 3rd liner who can do it all. In his peak years, 27-29, I think he may even be capable of eing a strong support guy on a 2nd line. Maybe I’m over-optimistic, but I’ve just always liked his game and his skating has improved (though it still needs some more polish).

  • Burnward

    He doesn’t need to be exceptional at any one part of his game, that’s what the Gaudreaus, Baertschis, Monahans, etc. are for. To me he’s the guy that brings it all together, he can be an NHL regular but I think he will be leader on this team. He could turn into a heart and soul guy, a solid penalty killer and some depth as a center.

  • Burnward

    Would like to see Rhino get in 20-30 games on the third line with some PP and PK time. Throw him in all situations and see how he does, but for the love of god give the guy a decent chance. Don’t just stick him on a line with two dancing bears and then wonder why he sputters and doesn’t produce.

    *Braces for WW to comment and sh*t all over Rhino*

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think Max is a keeper. I just don’t know what mgmt thinks of him.

    My concern is he becomes the next Roman Horak-> decent enough prospect to be thrown into a (NHL) inconsequential trade ie Smid deal.

    I like the Max-Granlund duo. I think it proves the concept of ‘fit’. It’s easy to see shinier attributes in other individual players but its a team game so fit is crucial.

    Let them both get plenty of games together up top.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      WW are you suggesting we trade you? Just kidding.

      Rhino benefited from playing Granlund and now needs to prove it once again, he is a depth forward who has a chance to play in the NHL, the question is can he beat out Bouma, Colborne and possibly Ferland for that position. I suspect we will see him called up a couple of times this based upon injuries for between 15-20 games. They may even try and move him to the RW as this is where the organization needs help. I could see both him and Ferland being given the opportunity to play on the RW in Addy. Could very well be a rw combination in Addy of Poirier, Ferland, Rhino, Hanowski, van B(bam bam), and the Wolf.

  • The Last Big Bear

    To be perfectly honest, and I hate to second anything WW says, but I think there is an argument to be made for moving Reinhart.

    Not because I think he sucks, but rather because I think he is valuable. The Flames would be better served to have a defenceman prospect of his calibre, rather than another centre. And trading him for a defenceman would be trading from a position of strength to address a position of weakness for the Flames.

    Reinhart has shown the ability to consistently develop his game, he has shown flashes of offensive brilliance, he has name-recognition, and still has an intriguing amount of upside. He has value as a prospect.

    But the Flames prospect pool could supply the entire Pacific Conference with bottom-6 centremen.

    Reinhart has value, for sure, but so do Arnold, Colborne, Knight, etc.

    The Flames as an organization would be better off if they had another defenceman prospect of Reinhart’s calibre, rather than redundant depth at the “potential future 3C” position.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      You’re not wrong, but the Flames need a defenseman prospect of much higher caliber than Reinhart. A potential #4 defenseman wouldn’t help much. They need a potential #2 at the very least.

      You’re not getting that in a trade for Max Reinhart. At least, you’re not likely to. We have seen some very strange trades in recent years.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Max has fallen on the depth chart and I think he will be moved half way through the season. There is a log jam of his calibre already in the system.

    Unless he comes out and really impresses at the NHL level.

  • seve927

    Max was the first prospect I took notice of. I never really used to follow prospects at all, but in his draft + 1 season, I heard he was Flames property, and I started following the Ice run through the playoffs. His 5 goal game, and 9 points in the playoff sweep of Medecine Hat. I have gradually progessed to where I follow prospects more than the big team. Max started it all, and I’d love to see him stick around and to cheer for him. However, he’s now in a pretty crowded group and I think his best chance is probably somewhere else.

    New Jersey?

  • seve927

    Reinharts improvement in skating has got me very excited for monahan. if monny can improve his skating i can definitely see him tripling his rookie points output in a few years.

  • The Last Big Bear

    The blue line just got a lot more crowded in Washington this summer.

    They might have a prospect or two that could be shaken loose… CoughDmitriOrlovCough…

    I don’t know if Reinhart alone would be enough, but he might be a good start.

    Just a matter of finding the right deal with the right team.