With the Abbotsford Heat officially eliminated from the AHL Calder Cup playoffs, I thought now would be a good time to take a closer look at another Flames prospect who continues to work his way up in the organization: Max Reinhart.
After being chosen in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Flames, the 20-year-old Reinhart has continued to put up impressive, though not gaudy numbers over the course of the past two WHL seasons.
Reinhart put together another steady season with the Kootenay Ice in 2011-12, scoring 28 times and adding 50 assists for 78 points in 61 games (a pace of 1.28 PPG) in what may have been his last junior season depending on how many over-agers the Ice have kicking around next year.
Reinhart's regular season points broke down as such:
EV Goals: 19
EV Points: 46
SH Assists: 1
Total Special Teams Points: 32
While age is certainly a factor here, scoring over twenty goals in three consecutive seasons while only playing every game or nearly every game in two of them is fairly impressive. Reinhart's splits look pretty good, with over 50% of his offensive production coming at even strength, although they could be better. His numbers this past season indicate that he is a player who can be counted on to produce in all situations, and that versatility is something that should earn him major brownie points going forward.
After the Ice's playoff hopes were crushed in a first round sweep by the Edmonton Oil Kings, Reinhart got his first taste of pro hockey this spring, appearing in one regular season game and four playoff games with the Abbotsford Heat. In those five games he accumulated three goals and one assist (although two of those goals came in the same game), he was a +3, and had 12 shots on goal, but it's tough to glean much from such a small sample size at the pro level.
Reinhart signed an entry-level deal with the Flames a year after being drafted and with the team in a state of flux, he could potentially follow in his father Paul's footsteps sooner than expected in becoming a member of the club.
Currently ranked as the fifth best prospect in the Flames' system, Reinhart has been described as as "solid two-way player" and a "playmaking centreman" who has good speed and a "quick, accurate release" by Hockey's Future, but it has also been said that he still needs to add muscle mass and grow into his frame. He impressed the Flames last fall at the rookie tournament and was one of the last remaining stragglers to be sent back to his junior club in training camp, so it will be interesting to observe his progress at development camp this summer.
His younger brother Griffin, a draft eligible defenceman who is currently facing Sven Baertschi and the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Western Conference Finals, could also potentially become Flames property this summer, depending on how the cards fall, but it seems unlikely that he will fall outside of the top ten. If all else fails, there's always Sam Reinhart in 2014!