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If Flyers Go Defense In Draft, David Reinbacher Might Be Their Guy



David Reinbacher
David Reinbacher

The Flyers are a team in need. They need help throughout the lineup. They need some good luck in the draft.

They’ve announced a rebuild and traded away their best defenseman. They reportedly are fielding offers for other players.

The renourishing NHL Draft is less than two weeks away. Experts say this draft is stuffed with forwards with a variety of offensive skills. Players who are mock drafted into the Flyers’ No. 7 draft slot look like they will help.

Tankathon’s mock draft has forwards selected with the first nine picks. Tankathon’s mock isn’t an outlier. Most mocks are similar. Teams needing a defenseman have slimmer pickings than those looking for forwards.

A question facing the Flyers’ braintrust is simple: Go offense or defense? While offense seems to be obvious given the amount of available talent, the Flyers could start to fortify their defense.

Another question the Flyers must ponder: Is the potentially best defenseman on the board better than the seventh-best forward? Because Philadelphia has needs everywhere.

David Reinbacher is the defenseman most highly rated and is linked to the Flyers in several mock drafts.

Reinbacher is a 6-foot-2, 187-pounder from Austria who plays for the Kloten Flyers — karma alert — in Switzerland’s top professional league. He has played with Austria’s age-group teams in U18 and U20. He is likely to be available when the Flyers pick at No. 7.

Evaluating Reinbacher

“Reinbacher’s got pro size, desired handedness, and a really strong foundation of tools that all but guarantee he’ll become an NHLer,” The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler wrote about the right-handed shooter.

“I expect he’ll be the first defenseman picked when all is said and done, and it sounds like he’ll go as high as the top 10 [which I wouldn’t scoff at].

“Reinbacher’s a solid forward and backward skater [though he can look a little stilted at times] who gaps well and defends the rush effectively with a noticeably long stick.

“He looks to take instead of give in the neutral zone, regularly stepping up to try to bump puck carriers off possession and force dumps [though there are times when that style can leave him chasing if his timing’s off or he’s flat-footed].

“He’s strong. His head is always up and on a swivel and he does a good job pre-surveying the ice when he’s going back to get pucks through frequent shoulder checks.”

Mock Drafts

In a dozen mock drafts out there, Reinbacher went from five to the Canadiens, to sixth to the Coyotes down to the Blackhawks at 20. The majority of the mocks had him going sixth to 11.

He suffered an MCL injury at the World Championships that caused him to miss three games. He returned for the final game and said the injury will not be a factor moving forward.

The Daily Faceoff has Reinbacher going to the Flyers in its post-Stanley Cup mock draft. He had three goals, 19 assists and was plus-7 while playing 18 minutes a game in 46 games this past season.

“The Flyers are a bit of a mess right now, and their blue line looks … not so good,” The Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis wrote in the mock draft evaluation. 

“Reinbacher can fix that quite shortly after proving his worth in the Swiss National League this year. He already has significant pro experience and isn’t that far away. 

“With Cutter Gauthier up front, Reinbacher gives the team a Grade-A defensive prospect.”

The Flyers were 10th worst in the league in goals against, allowing 3.37 goals per game. The worst team was the Ducks, allowing 4.09. The 11 teams that allowed the most goals all missed the playoffs.

Highly Regarded

Ian Kennedy, of Yahoo Sports, has Reinbacher going to the Canucks at 11, meaning the Flyers passed on the d-man. Kennedy has forward Ryan Leonard going to the Flyers.

“It seemed unlikely Reinbacher would continue to contribute from start to finish, in two consecutive seasons, in one of Europe’s best professional leagues, as a teenager, but he did,” Kennedy wrote.

“It wouldn’t be surprising to see Reinbacher in the AHL next season and getting an NHL audition at some point. Transferring his game to a smaller rink is the only item to be figured out.

“At this point in the draft, the Canucks would be misguided to pick anyone but Reinbacher to help right a blue line that has been downright bad.”

One mock draft has Reinbacher going to the Capitals at 8. Another mock had him going to the Coyotes at 12.

And remember what Flyers president of hockey operations Keith Jones told The Daily Faceoff a few weeks ago: “The blue line, to me is the most important thing. We want to have a really advanced back end.”

Based on mock drafts, it sure looks as if Reinbacher will be available for the Flyers. If they want him.


Flyers, In Case You Missed It:

Fans are feeling a little upbeat about the Flyers’ offseason so far.

John LeClair rejoins Flyers as Special Advisor to Hockey Operations.

Simon Gagne is new GM of Quebec Remparts.

Flyers face some long betting odds to win Stanley Cup next season. 

Around The National Hockey Network:

Boston Hockey Now: Expect more trade rumors on restricted free agent goalie Jeremy Swayman as his contract status becomes even more pressing.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Sabres reportedly are checking in on the availability of Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

Calgary Hockey Now: Former Flames star Jarome Iginla rejoins team as advisor to GM Craig Conroy.

Chicago Hockey Now: Mock draft has Blackhawks taking defenseman Dimitri Simashev at 19.

Detroit Hockey Now: With the ninth pick, will Red Wings go for defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka?

Florida Hockey Now: Panthers start tackling free agency issues. Bringing back Radko Gudas might be in the cards.

Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens calculating cost of moving up from 5 in the draft.

Nashville Hockey Now: The five best hidden-gem draft picks in Predators history.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Devils reportedly have filed team-elected arbitration with forward Timo Meier.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: New president Kyle Dubas has to rebuild the Penguins’ management team.

San Jose Hockey Now: Making the case for selecting defenseman David Reinbacher with the fourth pick.

Vegas Hockey Now: Time to enjoy the greatness brought by the Golden Knights in winning the Stanley Cup.

Washington Hockey Now: Predicting who might hit the buyout market.

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