As the second ranked defenceman in our 2023 consolidated rankings, David Reinbacher has been surging up draft boards all season long. In the past two NHL seasons, teams have spent big money to lock up their number one defenders, and Reinbacher projects to be just that. He could end up being the first defenceman off the board come June, and whichever team has the pleasure of selecting him will no doubt be happy. Let’s dive into what makes Reinbacher such an interesting talent eligible for this year’s draft.
Who is David Reinbacher?
|David Reinbacher||D||Right||6’2″||187 lbs|
Reinbacher appears all over the board in various draft rankings. Future Considerations has him as high as eighth overall and Recruit Scouting has him at 35th. NHL Central Scouting has him fifth overall for European skaters in their final draft rankings.
Hailing from Hohenems, Austria, Reinbacher has played in Switzerland’s hockey system his entire career. He has also represented Austria at the international level in the World Juniors, and is on the Austrian national team in the World Championships currently underway in Latvia.
David Reinbacher’s on ice production
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|Austria U20 “A”||WJC-20||5||0||2||2|
Reinbacher is a player who improved his draft stock from the start of the season to the end. He was considered to be a solid second-round target, but is now a lock to go in the first round, and maybe even the first defenceman off the board as mentioned.
Being a right-shot defender with good size and high two-way potential, the floor for Reinbacher should be a top-four defenceman. Some scouts believe he has top pair and power play quarterback potential—exactly the type of player teams will reach for in the draft, especially when they are as big as Reinbacher.
EHC Kloten—Reinbacher’s team in the Swiss league—was promoted this season. Despite being one of the worst teams in the league, Reinbacher’s coaches put their faith in him. He averaged almost 19 minutes per game as an 18-year-old, good for second on his team among blueliners. League-wide Reinbacher led all teenagers in points with 22 in 46 games, and that includes forwards too. The next closest player had just seven points in 45 games. In NL history, Reinbacher has the second most productive season as a draft eligible player, trailing only Auston Matthews.
David Reinbacher’s strengths
Reinbacher was originally projected to be a more defensive prospect, especially as his team moved up into the top league in Switzerland. On defence, Reinbacher has good positioning and uses the body well to edge offenders off the puck. As a big body defenceman, this bodes well because Reinbacher isn’t just using his enormous size to body younger teenagers in junior hockey; he’s playing against men in a professional league which is a quality scouts point out as being transferrable to the NHL.
This year, Reinbacher did a phenomenal job flexing his offensive game as well, as we’ve talked about already.
The most impressive part of Reinbacher’s offensive game is his shot. He has the potential to be a David Gustafsson-esque power play quarterback with his ability to get an incredibly high percentage of his shots through to the goalie, and has shown that he possesses a nifty, quick slapper as well. His shot is very deceptive and very effective, an excellent quality in an offensive defenceman.
Size and hand
The fact that Reinbacher is a huge defenceman who plays a premier position on the right side makes him valuable all on its own. Teams salivate at this combination and will no doubt be chomping at the bit to add him to their prospect pool.
David Reinbacher’s areas of improvement
This is the biggest knock on Reinbacher. While his skating isn’t awful by any means, it’s just fine at best. He’s weak on his edges, lacks acceleration and a strong first step, and really doesn’t move the puck up the ice by himself with any kind of intimidation. Scouts have noted that technically, his skating is extremely clean—it’s just not polished enough to be dangerous at the professional level. It’s a coachable weakness, but is cause for pause as the game seems to increase in speed every single year.
Reinbacher doesn’t display a ton of creativity on the ice, mostly opting for safe plays and clear reads. His game has a certain blockiness to it which isn’t necessarily bad, it just means he doesn’t have the high-end hands skill that players like Quinn Hughes does. Granted, Reinbacher is a completely different body type from his more nimble and small counterparts, so this really isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not something he has in his tool kit.
David Reinbacher’s comparables
There are a whole host of comparables being thrown around by various scouts when it comes to Reinbacher. From Shea Theodore, to Brett Pesce, to Colton Parayko, there are many players that Reinbacher emulates in his play. However, the most apt comparison I could find was Ryan McDonagh. There is so much about Reinbacher’s game that screams McDonagh, specifically his two-way skill, size, and uncanny ability to get pucks to the goalie from the point. If Reinbacher even gets close to what McDonagh was in his prime, I’m sure he’ll be happy, as will the team that drafts him.
Fit with the Flames
For a team without many defence prospects with true NHL potential, Reinbacher would be an excellent get for the Flames—as he would be for any team picking in the middle of the first round. Finding quality right-shot defenders with two-way potential and the size that Reinbacher has is extremely difficult. Teams are always willing to shell out extra cash to lock down high-end righties on their blueline, so having a player like Reinbacher in your prospect pool will be extremely attractive for almost every team in the draft.
However, with how high his stock has risen this season, it doesn’t seem likely that Reinbacher will fall all the way down to 16th overall. When you consider that teams have made reaches in the first to select high-end righthanded defenders, it really feels like someone will make a play to grab Reinbacher early. Look no further than Moritz Seider to the Red Wings sixth overall in 2019, Simon Nemec second overall to the Devis last year, and David Jiricek sixth overall to the Blue Jackets last year as well.
Reinbacher is a strong two-way defenceman with good size and a track record of playing big minutes in the top professional league in Switzerland. Playing a premier position as a right-shot blueliner, Reinbacher has the potential to be selected as high as the top-10 and maybe even the first defenceman off the board in this year’s draft.
Projection: Top-four two-way defenceman
All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles
Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:
Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore | Will Smith | Ryan Leonard | Eduard Sale | Colby Barlow | Axel Sandin Pellikka | Dalibor Dvorsky | Brayden Yager | David Reinbacher | Nate Danielson | Riley Heidt | Matthew Wood | Quentin Musty | Mikhail Gulyayev | Calum Ritchie | Gabe Perrault | Jayden Perron | Ethan Gauthier | Dmitri Simashev | Samuel Honzek | Lukas Dragicevic | William Whitelaw