23 October 2019
Griffin Reinhart, the Dragons’ latest recruit on defense, comes from something of a hockey dynasty. Dad Paul was a legend with the Flames, where he prowled the blue line for eight seasons and played in the 1981 Canada Cup. Brothers Max and Sam are also pro hockey players, the latter a former #2 NHL draft pick. And now Griffin, 25, is on his way to China.
Like his Dad, he plays defense. Only bigger. Standing 6’4” and weighing in 216 lbs, he’s a solid obstacle in the path of any opponent. In junior hockey he twice won the WHL’s Memorial Cup with Edmonton Oil Kings and might have added a third title had it not been for an injury in the Conference Final. Certainly, Bob Green, his GM at the time, was in no doubt of the young Reinhart’s qualities. “He’s got elite hockey sense … he won a Memorial Cup, he was captain… He’s a horse, he can play all night. He’s 6’4”, he can move the puck, he’s got great hands. He’s the complete package that you want in a defenseman who is 20 years old.”
Those comments came when Reinhart returned to Edmonton as a pro, joining the Oilers after a season within the Islanders organization. He was drafted by the Isles at #4 but didn’t quite fit there. In Edmonton, back in familiar surroundings, Griffin got a longer run of NHL action but returned to the AHL after 29 games. Traded on to the Vegas Golden Knights, he once again found himself in the AHL and helped take the Chicago Wolves to this year’s Calder Cup final. However, the summer trade frenzy saw Reinhart out of contention for an NHL role and encouraged him to look overseas for the first time in his career.
He brings impressive size, the ability to squeeze forwards out of the play against the boards and the skills to move the puck to safety. While his career has never been built around a role that generates offense, he’s proven himself a solid, reliable spoiler who is more than capable of breaking up opposition play and protecting his goalie. That was the skillset that saw him dominate in the WHL – and can potentially bring some stability to Red Star’s defense here in the KHL.