David Reinbacher Expresses Interest In Joining Laval Rocket

Lausanne HC v EHC Kloten - National League
Lausanne HC v EHC Kloten - National League / RvS.Media/Monika Majer/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens have added new faces each of the past two seasons - and one that is likely to join the Habs this season - has essentially confirmed his wishes.

Kent Hughes and the Habs scouting staff made a big bet when they drafted David Reinbacher with the fifth overall selection. A move that many questioned, due to the organizational defensive depth. And even more so because of the Canadiens lack of elite forward talent.

The Habs haven't exactly got to see the best out of their prized defenseman, but that has more to do with the situation he is in and less to do with his actual play. After showing strong as an 18-year-old against men in the Swiss NL before being drafted, Reinbacher was ranked as the best defender in his draft class (2023). This season he has shown shades of what endeared him to Hughes and company, but he has dealt with injury and a carousel of head coaches.

But, thankfully for the player and the Canadiens Reinbacher was only supposed to go back to Switzerland for one season to finish his studies. With EHC Kloten's season nearing its end, it has become almost certain that he will head to North America soon. His emphasis on wanting to join the Rocket to aid in their playoff push, tells you all you need to know about the competitor that he is.

Since he was drafted, the spotlight has been on him in Montreal, however, overseas he has garnered much less attention. This has allowed him to develop without any distractions and the pressure of a hockey market like La Belle Province. So, it will be an adjustment no doubt for the young Austrian, he has exhibited maturity beyond his 19 years.

Still, it will be a transition and the tempo at which he processes plays will need to speed up, but I think with the proper coaching he should do well. Playoff experience with the Rocket will be huge for his development and confidence. Likewise, it will allow him to dip his toes in playoff action, which he can take with him into his offseason training, in preparation for his first full American Hockey League season in 2024-25.

Now that's assuming that he doesn't make the Habs opening night roster out of training camp, which isn't out of the realm of possibility. However, he will have a healthy battle on his hands, with Logan Mailloux, Justin Barron, Johnathan Kovacevic and David Savard ahead of him on the depth chart. But given the culture that has taken shape in Montreal, it's a certainty that the Canadiens believe in the kid, and he might surprise everybody come October.

There is the option for him to attend the World Hockey Championships, much like there is for Juraj Slafkovsky. And while I think it's important for players to have the chance to represent their country, the best move for the player's development might be getting his feet wet with Laval. Because of the Rocket depth, he will need to leapfrog Barron or Mailloux for increased minutes, but the internal competition will only help him grow his game further.

The Canadiens won't likely make the playoffs, but with the prospects that could join Laval, the Rocket could become prime television come late March, early April.