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Posted: September 4, 2013

Reinhart tops Craig’s List

Kootenay ICE star forward Sam Reinhart was being touted as a possible first overall selection for the 2014 NHL Draft as the 2012/13 Western Hockey League season came to a close.

So it comes as no surprise that the 6’ 1”, 186 lb., almost 18-year-old centre who led the ICE in scoring last season with 35 goals and 50 assists in 72 games is again being considered as a front runner to go first overall next summer.

Craig Button, the former Calgary Flames general manager who is now a TSN hockey analyst, this morning (Sept. 4) released the first of a series of hockey prospect updates – called ‘Craig’s List’ – where he ranks junior players’ draft potential.

Button has Reinhart and big Barrie Colts defender Aaron Ekblad (Ontario Hockey League) as the two top prospects heading into the Canadian Hockey League season.

“This year begins with Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad in the top two spots, followed by William Nylander, the son of former NHL player, Michael Nylander. A debate will surely ensue about a forward versus a defenseman being selected first overall and it is one that is a worthy one, once again because the players are so good,” Button states on TSN.

The second Craig’s List in October and it will be an expanded 75-player list.

Along with showing he’s one of the best players in the WHL, Reinhart has been rock steady whenever he’s pulled on a Team Canada jersey, which has amped his stock considerably the past two seasons.

However, an area where Reinhart is going to have to improve is in the playoffs. He was held to a single assist in five games in the 2013 WHL playoffs.

The young sniper with a deep understanding of the game and sky high hockey IQ is the son of former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart and brother of Max Reinhart, who led the ICE in scoring in 2010/11 and 2011/12. He was picked by the Flames in the third round (64th overall) in the 2010 draft. He has a good chance to stick with the re-building NHL squad this upcoming season.

Should Reinhart be drafted first overall, or even in the top nine, it would make him the highest selected player in franchise history.

Only two Kootenay ICE players have ever been selected in the first round. Goaltender Dan Blackburn was taken 10th overall by the New York Rangers in 2001 and defenseman Steve McCarthy was chosen 23rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1999 draft. Blackburn’s career was sadly cut short before it even got rolling due to injury, while McCarthy struggled to hold a roster spot during stops in Chicago, Vancouver and Atlanta. He most recently played for ZSC Lions in Switzerland (2011/12).

Other WHL players hockey fans heading to Western Financial Place this upcoming season should keep an eye on include: Prince Albert Raiders winger Leon Draisaitl (7th), defenseman Haydn Fleury (10th) of the Red Deer Rebels, centre Brayden Point (12th) of the Moose Jaw Warriors, defender Brycen Martin (16th) of the Swift Current Broncos, winger Jake Virtanen (26th) of the Calgary Hitmen and right winger Reid Duke (29th) of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

See Button’s full top 30 here: http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=49649.

Lead photo: whl.ca


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