Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Griffin Reinhart isn’t looking to start the 2014-15 season in scenic Connecticut. The 20-year-old defenseman wants to be in the NHL on October 10th when the Islanders open their season in Carolina against the Hurricanes.
The fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft spent last season in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings, where he won the memorial cup and was named MVP of the WHL Championships. Now Reinhart’s goal is to make it in the professional ranks.
It is widely believed that Reinhart will make the Islanders roster on opening night and a trip to Bridgeport would not be how he wants to begin the year.
“Obviously I’m going to mind,” he said when asked about being sent down to the Sound Tigers. “It’s [the Islanders] decision and I wasn’t happy being sent down last year, but Know I just gotta take the positives out of it. Keep getting better and just gotta do the same thing if that happens again this year.”
Reinhart did make the most of his final season in juniors. He was a core player for the Oil Kings championship run and put up 21 point (four goals, 17 assists) in 45 regular season games. Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano was pleased with how Reinhart developed over the season.
“He played a lot of minutes. I talked to [former Oil Kings Head Coach] Derek Laxdal as the season went on there too and he was a horse for those guys,” Capuano said. “He gained a great deal of experience, most importantly winning a championship and how hard it is and how tough it is. The fact that he was able to do that we’re proud of him and now he’s going to get an opportunity come september.”
Reinhart agreed that the experience was good and that it helped to build character and the experience will be useful on the ice in game situations.
“It’s a always good to have that experience and play, and realize how hard it is to win championships. And when you do that I think it makes you a better player and a person,” Reinhart said.
With all that experience in hand and this camp being his third mini camp on Long Island the Islanders top defensive prospect feels ready to make the jump to the NHL.
Reinhart had a strong showing in training camp last season and pushed pretty hard for a spot. This year, after such a strong season, the Islanders would be ill advised to have him start in Bridgeport.
“I’m confident in myself,”Reinhart said. “I think I’m ready, but at the end of the day it’s the team’s decision where they want to put me. If they think I’m ready or they don’t that’s all their decision, but I have full confidence in myself. I want to make an impact and show them that I can play here.”