|Reinhart should get a nine-game tryout.|
I know that some of us are thrilled to see Reinhart continue to play with the team's roster. I'm also aware that others want Reinhart back in the WHL, where he can continue his development with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
I love it.
The Islanders 4th-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is showing signs that he belongs with the big club. At 19-years-old, it wouldn't be fair to expect him to be fully ready for the NHL jump, but the Islanders can certainly see what they have in Reinhart, no? It's time for a nine-game tryout.
Listen. I know the Islanders have enough defensemen on their current roster. Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Brian Strait, Lubomir Visnovsky, Thomas Hickey and Matt Carkner are all returning to a defensive unit that played an integral role in bringing the Isles to the playoffs. Matt Donovan is also expected to join the roster as a rookie. Reinhart, however, is a different breed of defensmen - one that fits a category that only some of the team's current blueliners fit loosely.
According to Eric Cairns, the team's director of player development, Reinhart is " a smart defenseman who moves the puck very well and a big, tall guy with a long reach who can use that to defend." At 6'4, 205 pounds, Reinhart could potentially bring the Islanders a specific type of player that has yet to join the organization amidst the rebuild - a sizable kid who can flat-out play.
Sure, the Islanders could use Carkner and/or Joe Finley to play the "big guy" on the Islanders blue-line, but we know they aren't going to be the rock that anchors their team from their own zone.
And sure, the Islanders have Hamonic. He's the heart and soul of the defense - a true warrior. I would call Hamonic an excellent defenseman, but not a shutdown guy.
I'm sure the question of "who sits?" will arise when we talk Reinhart playing at any point this season. I'm sure the Islanders can afford to send Hickey to the press-box for a few nights, even though Hickey was one of the Islanders better defenseman in 2013. Hickey, who signed a two-year extension with the team over the summer, hasn't played on the main roster this preseason - Reinhart has.
All I'm saying is that it [probably] couldn't hurt the Islanders to see what Reinhart has. Give the kid nine games to see what he has. If he doesn't impress, send him back to the WHL - he got his NHL experience, and should have a better idea of what to expect when he makes the transition to the pro-game. If he does impress, the Islanders could find themselves with a true shut-down defenseman, a role coveted by every NHL team.
Nine games is all we need to see what we can get out of Reinhart right now. Lacking size on the blue-line, this Isles team has nothing to lose by giving Reinhart the tryout that he is eligible for.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!