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Max Reinhart: This season, last, and the great improvement therein

Last season, Max Reinhart scored 21 points. This season, he tripled that.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Max Reinhart isn't the best Reinhart out there. His father, Paul, was a two-time all-star. His brother, Griffin, was selected fourth overall and remains one of the Islanders' top prospects. His other brother, Sam, is likely going to be the first or second overall pick in this year's draft (so sadly, the Flames will be unable to reunite the two). In contrast, Max was a third round draft pick, selected 64th overall in 2010.

The bad news from 2010 is that he was the Flames' first draft pick. The good news is he's almost certainly going to be an NHLer, and it could be as early as next season. He's a centre, but he spent much of this season on the wing as well.

Our Reinhart isn't likely to be a top six player, but that isn't to understate his value. After all, reliable depth players are important, and if they can score, then all the better.

In 66 games last season, Max Reinhart scored seven goals and 21 points in 67 games for the Heat. This season, he scored 21 goals and 63 points in 66 games.

So, what changed?

His shooting percentage.

The average NHLer has a shooting percentage of about 9%. If you're a forward, you're likely to be closer to about 10%.

Max Reinhart had 142 shots on net last season, getting about 2.1 shots on net per game. His shooting percentage then was 4.9%, well below what could reasonably be expected for him.

This season, Reinhart added to his count by getting 166 shots on net: about 2.5 shots per game. Twenty additional shots spread over nearly 70 games isn't necessarily a massive change; at least, not something one could expect to result in 14 additional goals on the year. This season, however, Reinhart's shooting percentage was 12.7%: an almost 8% increase.

That, combined with being a year older, not to mention playing on a better team (the Heat didn't make the playoffs last season, they did this year) will result in additional offence.

Frequent shooter

Much was made of Sean Monahan's extremely high shooting percentage earlier in the year. Of course, six goals in his first nine games wasn't going to be sustainable, and he went long stretches without scoring, but still managed to be one of the Flames' top scorers, finishing with 22 goals on the year. Unfortunately, he had one of the highest shooting percentages of all regular forwards on the team (15.70%, behind Matt Stajan and Kevin Westgarth, if you count Kevin Westgarth as a regular).

Fortunately, he was the fourth most frequent shooter on the team, with 140 shots - about 1.9 shots per game - behind Mike Cammalleri, Mark Giordano, and Mikael Backlund.

Regression can probably be expected for both Monahan and Reinhart (especially if Reinhart makes the NHL, where he'll almost certainly get less ice time and therefore, fewer chances to shoot), but the good news is, as long as they continue to get a lot of shots on net, it won't be that bad.

Reinhart in the 2012-13 season was one of the Heat's most frequent shooters. Only two players, Ben Street and Krys Kolanos, directed more pucks on net than he did. The only Heat players who had a higher shots per game ratio than him were those two, Sven Baertschi, and Roman Horak (remember him? Sniff). He was the Heat's eighth highest scorer.

In 2013-14, when his shooting percentage went up, he became the Heat's leading scorer (not to mention the best scorer the Heat franchise ever has or ever will see). He was fifth in shots per game on the team.

Translating that to the NHL

Even though Reinhart's ice time will probably drop when he makes the NHL, he's already shown the tendency to shoot the puck a lot. Which means he tends to have the puck a lot. Which is good, because in the NHL, he's not going to be relied on for scoring (although any goals he scores will be awesome, obviously), but if he can help his team get more shots on the opposition's net than against his own while on the ice, that's all we can really ask of him.

In his 19 games of NHL experience, that hasn't happened quite yet: he's been a negative possession player, but also, he's been a 21- or 22-year-old former third round draft pick playing with not-always-great linemates, and he hasn't been completely buried.

The strides he made this year were expected, and are consistent with his playing style. This bodes well for Reinhart's future NHL career, and means he could very well become a useful player for the Flames soon enough.