Breaking News: Oilers have acquired, former #4 overall pick, Griffin Reinhart from the New York Islanders in exchange for the Oilers #16 pick (Matt Barzal) and pick #33 (later flipped to Tampa Bay).
Well, it happened. The Oilers selected the highly praised Connor McDavid with their first overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Despite the significance of the move, Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers weren’t quite done. When the Oilers were on the clock to make the #16 overall selection, NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman announced that the Oilers had traded the pick, along with pick #33, for an up and coming blue-liner in Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart played his WHL days close to the Oilers, with the Edmonton Oil Kings, and the move was said to have been heavily influenced by, former Oil King GM turned head of Oilers player personnel, Bob Green. It is expected that Reinhart will be on the big club to start the 2015/16 season in St. Louis. In a media availability after the first round, Peter Chiarelli and Bob Green had some words of praise for the 6’4″ defender, as seen in these tweets by the official twitter account of the Edmonton Oilers:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 27, 2015
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 27, 2015
First and foremost, the trade was met with some a moderate amount of shock. The hype, coming into the 2015 Draft, was following players such as Cam Talbot and Eddie Lack, neither of which changed sweaters during the first round. The thought that Reinhart could be moved in exchange for those two picks had not been discussed to any length in the community of fans or by the media. So, upon hearing that Griffin Reinhart will be on the Oilers, my reaction was quite delayed as I had to process this info. The two picks the Oilers traded were worth it in my opinion. The Oilers have waited plenty of time for prospects to develop and I didn’t have any problem with Chiarelli moving those picks for a more developed and NHL-ready defender like Reinhart. I also believe that Griffin holds much more value to this Oilers roster than guys like Barzal and Svechnikov, just based on the need for more depth on defence. A sense of relief washed over me as well, knowing that the picks weren’t wasted on guys like Talbot or Lack, as I see better options in free agency. Overall, I am sure PC did all he could to acquire some more blue-chip guys and experienced defencemen, we know the Hamilton story by now, but if this was the best that was available for this particular combination of picks then I am happy with this trade. It shows that management isn’t gonna sit around and ignore the rosters weaknesses, action needed to be taken and this is as good a starting point that the Oilers could get.
What does Reinhart bring to Edmonton?
Griffin is praised for providing a solid game at both ends of the ice. His two-way play and ability to move the puck up the ice are touted as being the strong points of his game. He plays a sound defensive game and his frame permits him to be an intimidating body for opposing players. Edmonton could very well have a scary blue line with the 6’4″ Reinhart joining a team that currently has 6’4″ Darnell Nurse poised to debut this coming season. Reinhart, however, still has to learn how to use his size to his complete advantage to further improve his effectiveness in his own end. Not overwhelmingly great at any one aspect of the game, Reinhart plays a solid two-way game with only little holes to hold him back. His impressive play has prompted, hockey prospect resource, Hockey’s Future to say that the 21-year-old has the potential to be a top 2 NHL defender, which is fantastic news for the Oilers. As every player coming into the NHL has to deal with, Reinhart needs to get used the speed and intensity that the NHL level offers up but, that shouldn’t be a problem as it is something that will come with experience.
The Oilers need to fill more holes obviously. This was a good start but the Oilers cannot start the season with such a young group of D-men, as Reinhart only has 5 NHL games under his belt. Rumours that Martin Marincin could be moved in a trade are picking up and free agency is right around the corner, so there are opportunities for the Oilers to add more players to their organization. If Marincin is traded, I believe it will be in a package for a goaltender. That leaves free agency as our best opportunity to add some useful and experienced NHL guys to the team. Players such as Mike Green and Paul Martin should be high on the Oilers shopping list as both are proven useful assets to their previous clubs and both also present a wealth of NHL experience. The Oilers took a step in the right direction and, despite how the trade looks, it was a move that suggested that the Oilers are shifting their focus on the present and not the distant future.
Tides of change keep on turning in Edmonton. Exciting times are ahead.
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