Wed Mar 14 09:50am EDT
Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Griffin Reinhart is often referred to as a chip off the old block. The junior hockey star is the son of former NHL blueliner Paul Reinhart.
"People like to compare me to my dad," says Reinhart, who was ranked eighth among North American skaters by NHL's Central Scouting Services mid-term rankings. "My dad was a great defenceman and it's great to be compared to someone that good, but I feel we play different styles. I just want to be my own defenceman and develop my own style."
Reinhart is right by saying there are some distinct differences between him and his father. The most notable dissimilarity is their frames. Reinhart stands 6-foot-4, 202-pounds at 18-years-old, while his father stood 5-foot-11, 205 at the end of his 11-year NHL career. The younger Reinhart's game is based on being tough to play against, while his father was known for moving the puck up the ice.
Griffin Reinhart is the middle between his brothers Max and Sam, both forwards for the Kootenay Ice, are also on track to play in the pros. Max was drafted in the third round by the Calgary Flames in 2010. Sam is regarded as one of the top prospects of 2014 draft class.
"Having brothers that talented in hockey made for a competitive hockey family," says Griffin Reinhart, who has scored 12 goals and 35 points in 55 games for Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton. "We grew up in Vancouver, so we couldn't go out and play on ponds whenever we wanted, but we still played road hockey together a lot."
The 2012 draft class it touted by many as the year of the defencemen. This strong talent and depth on the blueline make it hard for defenders to stand out. Nevertheless, Reinhart's big stature and sandpaper style has separated him from the defensive crop to some extent. The North Vancouver, B.C., native stands at least three-inches taller than all of the other defencemen ranked in the top-15 of North American skaters by Central Scouting. He also plays a lot more physical of a game than the majority of the blueliners who are pegged to have their names called early on in the first-round.
"Potential has been the biggest appeal in Reinhart's game from day one," says Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. "The fact that he has a bit of a size advantage over the other defensive prospects definitely helps him too. The fact that he has size, moves as well as he does and can play a fairly versatile style is what has him so highly regarded at this point."
"That's tough. I think he would just cheer that all three of us do good individually."
2. If you weren't playing hockey, what sport do you think you would play competitively?
"Probably tennis. I play a lot of tennis with some of my friends and I just really enjoy it."
3. Your brother Sam has had an unbelievable rookie season in Kootenay (his 59 points lead all 16-year-old players). Did you expect him to be this good this fast at the major junior level?
"I don't think a lot of people did. He has played really good and put up a lot of points. I think he's been this good because he really improved his skating in the off-season. His hockey sense has also really stood out to me."
4. Do you try and model your game after an NHL defenceman?
"I like how (Nashville Predators defenceman) Shea Weber plays. He plays a simple game and is very physical."
5. Who's your favourite NHL team?
"The Vancouver Canucks, just because I grew up watching them in Vancouver."
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen (image credit WHL.ca).