Everyone knows about the high-end forwards loading the 2023 NHL Entry Draft class. There is a defensive prospect worth noticing.
A year ago, four defensemen were selected within the top 10 selections. In the defensive end, it is a more exclusive group at the top of the class. David Reinbacher is a name that could circulate through the war room around a few different franchises.
Reinbacher is the highest ranked defenseman in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft class. Hailing from Austria, the 18-year-old played for EHC Kloten in the National League during 2022-2023, recording 22 points (3G, 19A) in 46 games.
He represented Austria in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships and is currently participating in the 2023 IIHF World Championship. At the World Juniors, Reinbacher registered two assists in five games.
A right-handed defenseman, Reinbacher is 10th in Bob McKenzie’s latest prospect rankings after the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. Earlier, Reinbacher ranked 20th. NHL Central scouting ranks Reinbacher as the fifth best European skater.
Last night versus Sweden in the IIHF World’s, Reinbacher left the game. Rasmus Sandin placed a hard hip check on Reinbacher as he entered the offensive zone. Reinbacher spun in the air, crashed to the ice, and was reportedly taken to the hospital. His status remains unclear, which will affect his stock if the injury is long lasting.
Standing at 6’2″ and weighing 185lbs, Reinbacher possesses a blend of size and agility. An explosive first step, he is fast and agile in transition. Reinbacher is a defenseman aware of his positioning in the neutral zone without the puck. He is the perfect complement on a pair with an offensive defenseman, playing and preventing the transition chase.
On special teams, Reinbacher could pair well with a more offensive minded teammate along the blue line. His skating creates space, and if he did become more creative on offense, he’ll reach new heights.
His physicality shuts plays down in the defensive end, closing gaps and forcing turnovers. He isn’t flashy; a sure hand Reinbacher can act as a quarterback with the puck.
Reinbacher shows similarities to Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings. They’re nearly identical in size, and make the simple defensive plays. Seider wasn’t the complete package heading into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but the Red Wings knew the potential of his game, taking him sixth overall.
If Reinbacher does get beat in the defensive zone, it’s because he made a late decision, losing sight of his marked man. A late read from time-to-time will allow an opponent to slip past.
On the breakout, Reinbacher misses opportunities to make a pass, especially when the opposition is forechecking aggressively. A huge requirement of improvement, Reinbacher appeared to play with clear vision in the World Juniors.
His skating resembles the foundation of his game, but there’s room for improvement. Reinbacher has fine straight line speed, and while already agile, he could improve even more in transition. A demand for sharper turning will vastly improve an already strong foundation.
Does he fit Philadelphia?
Lacking depth at RD, the Philadelphia Flyers are stacked at LD. Ronnie Attard is the exciting RD prospect, but after him, there is a severe drop off.
Reinbacher projects to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL. If the Flyers want to fill a team need in the organization instead of taking one of the many young forwards in the draft class, Reinbacher is a valid choice. The last defenseman to be selected seventh overall by Philadelphia was Ivan Provorov in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
When the Flyers are on the clock with the seventh overall selection, Reinbacher will be on the board. Similarly to Seider and Provorov, he could be taken off the board early if a team is intrigued by his tools and potential as the best defenseman in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft class.
The severity of his injury at the IIHF World’s could affect his draft stock. Last year, David Jiricek faced some of the same concerns surrounding a knee injury. Nonetheless, Jiricek went sixth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the pick after Cutter Gauthier. Jiricek played four games with the Blue Jackets and 55 with the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL, showing there wasn’t any reason for concern about his prior injury history.
(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)