Timing Of Montreal Canadiens Top Prospect's Imminent Arrival Perfect For Development

Sep 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman David Reinbacher.
Sep 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman David Reinbacher. / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens may not have listened to fans opinions when they made their draft picks at the 2023 NHL Draft, but it is starting to look like those getting paid to scout may know more about young hockey players than twitter users.

A lot of fans could not believe low scoring but feisty winger Florian Xhekaj was drafted in the fourth round. Now, he is a point per game scorer that stands 6'4" and is a dominant physical presence on the ice. Perhaps he was not just drafted for his last name.

Many were also sceptical of the Canadiens selecting three goaltenders in one draft. That is unusual, but all of a sudden the Canadiens are extremely deep at the most important position in hockey. Jacob Fowler stands out above the rest after a dominant freshman season for Boston College who are the top ranked team in the country as national playoffs approach.

Quentin Miller is another promising goaltending prospect who is posting solid number in the QMJHL. He was recently traded to the Rimouski Oceanic who host the Memorial Cup next season and they are counting on him to backstop them to a championship.

The Canadiens also used a 5th round pick on Yevgeni Volokhin who had an incredible season in Russia's top Junior league, the MHL. Since Carey Price's career ended, there have been plenty of questions about who will play goal in the future but there are plenty of options all of a sudden.

The first player the Canadiens drafted in the 2023 NHL Draft was David Reinbacher. He was chosen fifth overall but there were plenty of naysayers who thought a skilled Russian winger like Matvei Michkov would have been a better choice.

Reinbacher played this season in Switzerland with Kloten who, unfortunately, were a terrible team. They finished second last in their league standings and nearly had to play a relegation series to see if they would even stay in the top division of pro hockey in the country.

Thankfully, Kloten did not have to play that playout series to determine what league they will be in next season. That avoided having their season drag to the end of the month and Kloten can close the book on their 2023-24 campaign now.

That means Reinbacher is free to head to North America to continue playing this season. And, there is just enough time for him to have a meaningful experience close to Montreal before next season's training camp.

Reinbacher should join the Laval Rocket any day now. This is great because it is not one of those cases where a player burns one year on an entry-level contract just to play one or two meaningless NHL games at the end of the regular season.

After today's contest with the Toronto Marlies, the Rocket still have 12 regular season games to play. They don't play their final regular season game until April 20th, which means Reinbacher will have a full month to adjust to the pro game at the North American level. This will give him time to play games, learn from coaches, make adjustments and learn the speed of the game at the AHL level while learning from mistakes and getting better on the fly.

The Rocket enter today's game one point back of the Marlies for the final playoff spot in the North Division. There are five teams battling for the final three playoff spots in the division so every game will have a playoff feel as well.

This should have Reinbacher fully ready to compete for an NHL job in September. Parachuting in for a game or two at the end of a team's season does not give a real feeling for the rigours of that league. Luckily, Reinbacher is going to get a full month of a playoff chase which should help him grow exponentially in a short period of time.

Expect him to use this experience to his advantage and be ready to steal a roster spot on the Canadiens to begin next season.