Right-shot defenceman David Reinbacher could be the right pick if the Canucks draft in the 6-9 range
Photo credit:@david.reinbacher on IG
By Faber1 month ago
The Canucks are in dire need of a big, tough, right-shot defenceman with enough puck-moving ability to be a nice secondary play-driver on a top pairing.
In other words, they need someone who can not only play with Quinn Hughes, but also make Hughes even better.
The draft is where you find that type of player. It’s too hard to acquire a top-pairing right-shot defenceman on the trade market. And these top-pairing right-shot guys just don’t often make it to free agency. You’ve got to draft and develop Hughes’ partner and the Canucks may be in a prime position to draft that player at the upcoming 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
David Reinbacher is a 6’2″, right-shot defenceman who was born in Austria and is currently playing in Switzerland’s top league.
He’s currently sitting outside of the top 10 of every major scouting site’s rankings.
This won’t last for long.
Reinbacher is going to be the fastest-rising draft-eligible prospect over the next four months.
The Canucks are currently sixth-worst in the NHL when it comes to points percentage and could end up winning the lottery, but it’s more likely that the Canucks win some games over the final stretch here and end up sliding down a spot and selecting in the 6-9 spots of the draft.
Getting Matvei Michkov would be nice if you’re picking in the 6-9 spot but a perfectly fine consolation prize would be the right-shot defenceman who has top-pairing potential written all over him.
Before we dive into Reinbacher’s game too much, let’s talk about the league that he plays in. The National League (NL) is the top professional league in Switzerland and from our viewings, it is a very good league. It plays more similarly to the Finnish Liiga compared to the wide-open SHL or KHL. The NL has fast and aggressive forecheckers and the added ice size helps defencemen who can make strong passes over long distances of ice.
Reinbacher is one of the horses on his NL team’s backend. He is the second-leading man for ice time and is second in points from a defenceman with 22. Reinbacher has three goals and 19 assists on the season. 12 of his 19 assists are primary helpers. Other notable stats are his possession and scoring chance numbers. They aren’t great but they are pretty damn good for a draft-eligible player playing in one of the top leagues in the world. We tracked Reinbacher’s Corsi at 47.6% over 42 NL games and saw his control of expected goals at 46.5% over the same sample size.
Now, let’s get to the first thing we need to talk about. And that is his hands and playmaking from his own zone.
Both his puck-handling and playmaking are done at an extremely high level for a player his age in a men’s league like the NL.
Let’s get to an example of his puck movement from the defensive zone. This NL league really opens up for defencemen to make long passes through pressure and that is a good thing for a developing defenceman like Reinbacher. He has to make quick decisions due to the aggressive forecheck and a lot of the time, the best option for a clean breakout is a long, stretch pass.
Reinbacher does a good job of being aware of his own blue line. Whether it’s a pass or him carrying the puck, every time he sends a pass over his blue line, it creates a reset for the opposition. These are the simple plays that will keep defencemen out of trouble in their own end and Reinbacher seems to have a good hockey IQ on forcing offensive resets for the opposition. At times, he just chops a 50-50 puck out to centre ice and that gives his team a chance to reset their defending stance at the blue line.
Another thing we liked in the defensive zone was Reinbacher’s paths when following his man around the net. He rarely gets caught chasing behind the net and does a great job of owning the crease against opposing forwards. The big righty is aware and confident enough in his own physicality to realize that he can, and should, push opposing forwards away from his crease. We don’t think that Reinbacher is a physical freak just yet but he shows a lot of similar qualities to Mo Seider in his draft year. If Reinbacher can develop that mean streak like Seider, we could be talking about a right-shot defenceman with a full toolkit.
Seider began to thrive physically in his draft-plus-two season with Rögle of the SHL. Reinbacher is already showing above-average physical talent in a physical men’s league — that’s a big plus for a kid who is just 18 years old.
After getting a good sample size of watching Reinbacher play, we are very excited about this kid. He has a good base level of talent in all the major skills that you need to have to be an NHL defenceman and he is just oozing potential with how raw his game still looks. He hasn’t gotten that boost of strength that most players see in their young 20s but when it comes, if he’s developed correctly — Reinbacher could be an absolute force on the backend.
His passes are crisp and have that NHL pop that you’re looking for from a puck-moving defenceman but he does have a tendency to lead his target just a bit too much. He may be trying to force it a little bit with his passes at times but overall, the confidence that he has to pop a 120-foot stretch pass is definitely impressive at his age.
On top of his puck movement, the kid has a really good-looking shot from the point. He is able to stick handle his way to a clear wrist shot but also possesses a strong and accurate one-timer slap shot that is likely only going to improve as he gains muscle and strength. The form looks great and he generates a ton of power from the use of his weight transfer combined with pushing down through the stick and utilizing the flex of the stick.
The mechanics behind his shot are also locked right in. His bottom hand possesses a lot of weight/strength because he keeps his bottom hand under his chin instead of letting it wander wide and see his strength lost. When he has time to set up for a shot from the point, he does a really good job of getting wide with his stance and firing with much speed on his shot as possible. This will only improve as he gets stronger.
Another upside to drafting Reinbacher would be that he can come over and play in the AHL right after being drafted. This gives a team much more control over how they want to develop their prospect. With Abbotsford so close, the development staff would have no excuse to get to work on this kid.
We firmly believe that Reinbacher is going to be the fastest-rising prospect from the present day all the way up until day one of the draft.
This is where he currently ranks on the top scouting sites’ rankings at the end of February. This should look a lot different by June.
As much as you’d like to hope that the Canucks can draft Reinbacher with the Islanders’ pick, it’s likely not going to happen. This kid will be gone by the time the Canucks are up to make that selection.
It would be a perfect 2023 draft if the Canucks walked away with a top-five pick as well as Reinbacher — I’ll say that.
In conclusion, David Reinbacher is already playing at a very high level and you can just see so much potential in his game to grow and develop into something special. We have no doubt that this kid will be an NHLer one day and with him having a year of NL play under his belt, he could very likely be an AHL contributor as soon as next season.
He has all the intangibles to become a perfect partner for Quinn Hughes and it may not be a bad idea for the Canucks to jump on this player with their first-round pick in the upcoming draft. There are going to be a lot of talented forwards in the draft but if the Canucks miss out on Connor Bedard, Leo Carlsson, Adam Fantilli, Matvei Michkov and Will Smith — Reinbacher might be the best pick for the Canucks and their future.
This type of player can only be acquired by the draft. You won’t find this type of talent on the trade market or in free agency. You’re taking a big swing if you select this kid in the top seven picks of the draft but you are swinging at a beach ball because this kid has a ton of talent and will be an impact defenceman at the NHL level.
We put together a montage of clips showcasing what we saw in our viewings of Reinbacher. Watch it below, and be sure to subscribe to the CanucksArmy YouTube channel!
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