The Montreal Canadiens drafted David Reinbacher fifth overall in the NHL Draft last week. Many fans wanted Matvei Michkov who would have come with more offensive flash and been a more fun player to watch develop due to his incredible skills with the puck.
Reinbacher is a bit more of an unknown than some of the other top prospects, simply because he played pro in Switzerland last season. He is a big, two-way right shooting defenseman which is a difficult player type to find and he could help round out a tremendous blue line for the Canadiens in the near future.
While some Habs fans would have preferred the highly skilled Michkov, Reinbacher is getting some praise for his game as well.
Daniel Winnik, a former NHL player who suited up for nearly 800 games for eight different teams in his NHL career, played against Reinbacher in Switzerland last season. He responded to a tweet in which Craig Button of TSN spoke about Reinbacher potentially turning into a player like Adam Larsson of the Seattle Kraken.
Larsson is mostly known as a minute munching defensive defenseman who can kill penalties and play against tough competition. He just had a career high 33 points last season but has usually been between 18 and 25.
Winnik, who has played for Geneve Servette in Switzerland’s top league for the past five seasons seems to think there is more to Reinbacher’s game than others believe.
Winnik said Reinbacher shows poise, hands and skating ability than Larsson is now. He also mentions the Habs prospect is a superior skater who takes shifts over while playing against pro players in Switzerland already.
I will forgive you if you are not a regular viewer of the best hockey league in Switzerland. Chances are, Winnik has had more live viewings of Reinbacher than anyone reading this right now. He is a pro player who played close to 800 games in the NHL and has been in the Swiss league for five seasons so he clearly knows what he is talking about here.
If Winnik thinks Reinbacher has a little more offensive potential to his game than he has been given credit for, he is probably correct. The 18 year old defenseman scored 22 points in 46 games playing against men in a tough pro league. It is not a direct comparison but in his draft year, Moritz Seider had just six points in 29 games in DEL which is Germany’s best league and not as competitive as Swiss NLA. He has played two NHL seasons thus far and has years with 42 and 50 points.
Simon Nemec had 26 points in 39 games in Slovakia’s pro league and David Jiricek had 11 points in 29 games in Czechia’s top league a year ago. They were both top five picks in 2022 and had no trouble jumping into the AHL as teenagers and putting up points.
The Swiss league is filled with former NHL players and easily compares to its counterparts in Germany, Slovakia and Czechia. If these other aforementioned defensemen can have offenisve success in North America, Reinbacher could very well turn into a bigger offensive producer than many believe.
There is no question he is a big, right shooting defender who is not easy to play against and will be able to handle the defensive responsibility of playing against tough competition. He is also a good skater and can move the puck up ice. If he can turn into at least a 40 point player, the Canadiens just added an incredible presence on their blue line.
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