Many fans and writers are dismissing young Islanders prospect Griffin Reinhart on misguided pages, posts and tweets across the internet; the lesson of Calvin de Haan apparently forgotten.
It is universally recognized that defensemen take longer to develop into NHL caliber players. There is also a prevailing view from some experts and scouts that “even bigger defensemen” take more time.
Griffin Reinhart is listed at 6’4″ that many experts include that in the “big defenseman” category. However, Griffin has grown since then and he is now bigger/taller than listed on the NY Islanders website.
So, please strap yourself in for the long-haul. Maybe Ryan Pulock goes past him in development. Maybe not. But according to those who matter: he is still a blue chip prospect for the Islanders with top-pairing potential.
This doesn’t mean he is an un-tradable asset. But it does mean the Islanders would need to be… and I quote… “blown away” by an offer.
The Islanders are depending on their young players with Entry Level contracts to provide key balance in the long-term in their cap management so they can afford to re-sign their key core players. This means players like Reinhart, Pulock, Mayfield, Dal Colle (in two years), and Ho Sang (2-3 years) are paramount to this effort. I wrote about this over on TheFourthPeriod.com. Please give it a read, if you missed it.
ESPN Insider Writer & Hockey Prospect expert Corey Pronman weighs in: “I don’t think it’s that micro an issue in whether he’s big or not, but dmen generally take longer than forwards. He played very well when I saw Bridgeport this year. I don’t think he’s a blow you away elite prospect but he’s certainly a top-end one. Points don’t fully show his impact at that level because defense is a big part of his game. I think he’ll be an NHLer next year if the depth chart allows it.”
Russ Cohen of Sportsology.com & NHL Hockey Prospect expert on NHL Network Radio adds: “He’s a 21-year-old defenseman. When you are that big and expected to be a puck mover and somewhat physical it does take time to put those skills together. Tyler Myers was rushed and now at the age of 25 he’s become a solid defenseman, again. Many times people a lot smarter than me say that patient organizations wait until a defenseman is 24 to consider what they are. The fact that you can type in Griffin’s name and the word bust comes up makes me sick. Just because he was great in the Memorial Cup, didn’t mean he was ready. I was thinking he was close but he wasn’t. That’s ok. He’s got just 59 professional games under his belt. That’s it. Not even one season. Even if were to take 3 full AHL seasons he would be worth the wait. This is why the Islanders drafted multiple defenseman because the curve on them is longer and yes even if Ryan Pulock is ready quicker it’s not an indicator of anything. When it clicks, it will click, and whenever that is only Griffin will know for sure. “
Something to consider before being judge and jury on assessing talent besides pushing kids to be traded.