The resurgence of the Calgary Flames has been, in part, due to the ability of their defensive group to generate offense. And if you look at the history of the team, arguably the best Flames teams have been anchored by offense-generating blueliners.
So it probably shouldn’t shock you that the latest member of the All-Time Flames Team is one of the team’s best offensive-generating blueliners, Paul Reinhart. While he’s probably best known these days for fathering three pretty decent hockey players, he was Dennis Wideman before Wideman was – a guy that was at his best in the offensive end, generating chances off the rush. On the All-Time Team, he’d be the power-play specialist – or the guy you’d throw out when the team was down a goal or two and you needed to generate a comeback.
I’ve always been a big fan of Paul Reinhart. I caught the tail-end of his career, but my recollections are that he was always just a fun player to watch. Originally drafted into the NHL by the old Atlanta Flames, he played a year there before making the move up north to Calgary. Once he swapped the Flaming A for a Flaming C, he stepped it up a notch.
During his tenure in Calgary, Reinhart was a just-shy-of-point-per-game player. He played a ton, often playing on the blue and at forward during the same game. Even when he was playing on the back end, his skill and speed made him basically a fourth forward on the ice. Injuries slowed him down near the end of his tenure – he was limited to 32 games in 1985-86 and 14 games in 1987-88 – and Cliff Fletcher eventually cashed out and got a draft pick for him. Granted, the draft pick turned out to be nobody worth remembering, and Reinhart ended up having a couple productive seasons in Vancouver before retiring.
He never won a Stanley Cup with the Flames – ironically, he was traded before the season they won the Cup – but he sure was a really great contributor when he was wearing a Flames jersey. The Flames winning a Cup without him makes it a little bit easier to stomach him wearing a Canucks jersey for two seasons.
- 13th in All-Time Flames Games Played (517)
- 6th in All-Time Flames Assists (336)
- 10th in All-Time Flames Points (445)
- 5th in All-Time Flames Power-Play Assists (155)
Paul Reinhart wasn’t the best defenseman the Flames had during his tenure. He happened to play on a Flames club that was really deep. That gave him a bit of a benefit, as he was able to get some easier match-ups and favourable situations in which to play.
But man, Reinhart sure made the most of it. He was an insanely useful offensive player and made his teammates more dangerous just by being on the ice. If he hadn’t been riddled by back injuries during his career, he might have been even better. As it stands, he was still pretty damn good.