Canucks Army draft prospect profile #1 – Sam Reinhart

Was the big reveal for our No. 1 prospect dramatic? Heck no. While the competition for 3, 4 and 5 came down to single votes, Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice steamrolled everybody, our unanimous No. 1 prospect with his name showing up first on every ballot.

So what do we know Central Scouting doesn’t? Not a whole lot, but I think it comes down to what we value in a hockey player.

SAM REINHART – Kootenay (WHL)
Position: C
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 185 lbs
Birthdate: November 6 1995

Suffice to say, the third of the Reinhart brothers is a top-tier prospect, a player who could be on an NHL first line within two years, and the most complete player in the draft. From the junior hockey know-it-alls like Rhys to the numberhounds like Josh, there isn’t much to dislike here.

Even his age—we’ll note—he’s a 1995-born player, so he’s on the older end of the draft class, but one year ago he would have been picked along with some of the best 1994-borns. With 85 points in 72 games, Reinhart was tied for 15th in the WHL in scoring… a year before he was even draft-eligible! This season he was one of five players to crack the 100-point barrier. There was Mitch Holmberg, an overager with Spokane, two Portland Winterhawks, and Leon Draisaitl.

Rhys has already pointed to all the good things we can say about Reinhart before. Strictly speaking, his 17-year-old points-per-game rate is among the elite CHL seasons we’ve seen in recent years:

In his draft year, he outscored Steve Stamkos, Nathan MacKinnon, Tyler Seguin, Claude Giroux, and Matt Duchene, and shattered the WHL’s high water mark for scoring rate, held by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Other than Sam Gagner (who rode Patrick Kane’s coattails with the London Knights), basically everyone in Reinhart’s range is a legitimate star player in the NHL and a worthy 1st overall pick. It’s not unreasonable to say that Reinhart may be one of the most talented players to come out of the WHL in over a decade.

Which is why it’s a little weird he’s listed as low as fourth in some lists, including Corey Pronman’s. The decision for the ranking seemed to be mostly due to age, as Willy Nylander and Sam Bennett are both a few months younger:

Reinhart’s probably a better player right now, but Nylander is in his 17-year-old season (as compared to Reinhart being in his 18-year-old season) and Nylander seems to have more room to grow. For the latter reason, being that I think he has so much upside, and it’s easier to close the gap defensively than offensively for an under-20 player, I give the edge to Nylander.

It’s a legitimate concern, but not enough to hide the fact that Reinhart was dominating the WHL before most people knew there was a junior hockey team in Cranbrook. Harrison at Pass It To Bulis made an excellent point that the Canucks could basically only afford to move up spots for Reinhart and Reinhart alone, even if it should cost them Hunter Shinkaruk. Reinhart’s a local-born prospect the fans can easily rally behind, an easy player for the PR team to sell, and the best player in the draft right now, meaning he could probably go right away to the NHL and replace Ryan Kesler.

But I doubt it gets to that point. There’s usually more noise than action when it comes to dealing the first overall pick, and the Canucks are sitting pretty at six (and I’d be pretty happy with anybody in our Top 9, so long as Jim Benning doesn’t decide to #BruinsModel the thing and make a reach on Jake Virtanen or Nick Ritchie [who was actually 19th in our rankings, and I didn’t think that would be an issue until commenters started thinking we had him up in our Top 5]) and the cost for moving up might be pretty large and from a hockey ops perspective, not worth Shinkaruk and a roster player.

It’s fun to dream though. Reinhart slides into almost any NHL depth chart, and besides: drafting Reinhart means that perhaps, just perhaps, the scouts also take a chance on his linemate for the last two seasons: the undersized and underrated Jaedon Descheneau…

Rankings:

Sam Reinhart
Cam 1
Dimitri 1
Josh 1
Rhys 1
Thomas 1

PREVIOUS PROSPECT PROFILES

  • Mantastic

    Age is a legit concern. Remember when you were in grade 11 and sat on the bench while the grade 12s started? It’s because a year – or in Sam’s case, 8 to 10 months – means a lot in terms of physical development.

    As an aside, I read somewhere the Canucks were launching a new marketing slogan this week that goes something like, `change is coming’. No pressure there Trev and Jim. Hope those marketing donkeys stand down until after the draft.

    And hopefully mgmt. don’t feel the need to overpay for an over-hyped prospect like Reinhart. Much rather them stay at 6 and grab a guy like Nylander or Ehlers or Fluery AND keep tanev and shinkaruk or whatever package they put together.

    • Mantastic

      Age is A concern. But in this case it is mitigated by two important factors:

      -Most 1st-ish overall picks are old relative to their draft class. Kane, Stamkos, Hall, Tavares, Yakupov, Seguin, Landeskog, E.Stall, Ryan. All in a very similar age range to Reinhart when drafted. Absolute prodigies like MacKinnon (and Gagner, lol) the exception.

      -Reinhart’s 16/17 year old season was elite. If he had been picked last year, he would have been easily ranked in the top-10. His numbers were comparable to guys like Monahan and Domi. His number last year blow guys like Horvat and Lazar out of the water. This years numbers…

  • Mantastic

    Not to slag on the wonderful work done here (in this post at least).

    But I much prefer reading a ranking by Keith Law or Corey Pronman who have the ability to scout while simultaneously understanding value so as not to overvalue “grit”, “intangibles” or other such nonsense.

    If Pronman isn’t ranking Reinhart #1, he has a logical reason for doing so…

      • Perhaps Pronman should look at Rhys’ age adjusted/league adjusted scoring rates…

        In any case, I’m speaking generally.

        I’m often reminded of a Voros McCracken quote about scouts saying what they do for a reason.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/sloan-analytics-cuban-mccracken-jedlovic/

        As well as how statistically-inclined orgs (there’s an interesting profile on Oakland A’s GM Farhan Zaidi floating around the web in which he discusses their scouts) use all the tools available at their disposal in the decision-making process.

        Are any of your (all the bloggers on here) rankings based on even a tiny bit of scouting data?

        Or is it simply scouting the boxscore…

    • elvis15

      Not that I ever reply to you, but Pronman for instance doesn’t actually watch any games live (not in Canada at least). He replies on other scout’s opinions and what he can see on streams, so take that with a grain of salt. I love the accessibility of his prospect information but don’t overvalue him when someone like McKenzie still ranks Reinhart 2nd overall.

      • Yes and Keith Law often refers to himself as a pseudoscout as well.

        They work for publications.

        They do not have the time to first hand scout all of the top prospects.

        However, both Law & Pronman (and McKenzie, for that matter) are relying on scouts for their ranking lists.

        Law & Pronman rank guys where they do for a reason.

        And I’ll trust people who have the ability to scout (while still understanding real world value as opposed to nonsense about intangibles) over the people who do not have that ability.

        “Not that I ever reply to you”

        As you were…

  • elvis15

    As much as I’m an Ekblad fan, I see the Canucks making the move and drafting Reinhart. I’d take Reinhart over RNH as well, but in RNH’s draft year I would have taken Landeskog anyway.

  • Mantastic

    I would listen to Bob Mac over Pronman any day. Pronman has a few scouts he goes to for info for different areas but Mac’s listen is a consensus of 10 scouts in the NHL for top 50 prospects.

    • Mantastic

      Not that I know enough about BobMac’s process.

      But does he, for example, overvalue goalies on his lists and/or overvalue (superfluous) truculence such as the Luke Schenn-type defenseman?

      I don’t get the impression from Pronman that he does such things…

      • Mantastic

        Bob doesn’t do any of the scouting, he just compiles a consensus ranked list from the 10 scouts he interviews and takes the average rankings. no one over values goalie in general but the same cannot be said about truculence. pronman is much more subjective and a single point of view, not Bob on the otherhand. pronman also tends to overrate OHL and high end euros over WHL and QMJHL, as those are the majority of guys he sees