Who is Reinbacher? A Plea to Habs’ Fans

By JD Lagrange – David Reinbacher was said to be the best defenseman available in Nashville, by a strong consensus. Unfortunately, many Canadiens’ fans showed that they haven’t learned anything from a year ago, when GM Kent Hughes went against their wish by selecting Juraj Slafkovsky instead of Shane Wright. Many of them went off on the team and, indirectly, on the young man who hasn’t done anything to deserve such treatment. And that’s why I decided to let the dust settle before publishing this article.

Who is David… Reinbacher?

On the ice, Reinbacher is as confident as they come. He made a huge splash in the top league in Switzerland, playing around 20 minutes a night in one of the best leagues in Europe. He recorded 22 points in 46 games for Kloten HC in 2022-’23.

Playing against older, more difficult competition has never been an issue for Reinbacher. There aren’t many other first-year eligible prospects with 73 games of pro experience while playing top-line minutes for their country at the junior and senior national team level in the same season.

But that’s precisely what Reinbacher did. He was Austria’s best player at the World Junior Championship before representing the senior team at the World Championship.

“If you’re a Habs fan, you’ll love Reinbacher’s game. He can absolutely flatten people. He plays a strong two-way game. If you like Mortiz Seider’s game, you’ll like what Reinbacher brings to the table. He’s so smart with the puck, and he only got better as the season wore on. Reinbacher also has an excellent personality, and the fanbase will grow to love him.” ~ Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

Here’s The Athletic’s Corey Pronman on Reinbacher.

I also strongly encourage you to read this article from Thibaud Chatel titled “What Montreal sees in David Reinbacher“. You will learn a lot from it, no matter which side of the fence you were or still are about why picking Reinbacher instead of anyone else, Matvei Michkov included.

High praise from teammate

Quebecer Éric Faille has been playing for two years in Switzerland with David Reinbacher in the Kloten organization. So far, he had turned down virtually every media request to sound out his opinion on teammate. He recently spoke to Nicolas Cloutier of Le Journal de Québec.

Faille changed his mind when Reinbacher was picked fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. He witnessed a wave of negative reactions from disappointed supporters, who were not ready to give the runner a chance, too disappointed to have seen Kent Hughes turn his nose up at Matvei Michkov.

“I hope the world in Montreal will calm down a bit and appreciate David a bit for the player he is,” Faille said in an interview with TVASports. “I hope the fans will see the big picture, the player he can become. It’s just sad to see a young man like him being drafted by Montreal and receiving that kind of reaction…”

“He’s such an underrated player,” said Faille. “He came a long way: we’re talking about a guy that people saw coming out around the third round a year ago. He is fifth overall. I’ve been around him for the past two years and I’ve seen incredible progress. At 17-18, he was playing against men and he was our best defenseman. In my book, the Canadiens were not mistaken with their choice.”

The main criticisms directed at Reinbacher revolve around his potential. Some doubt his offensive skills.

“He was the one who was driving our powerplay at 18,” Faille replied when informed of the fears. “Against men, in one of the best leagues in Europe. His offensive potential is there. He still has flair.”

Some observers have also expressed reservations about his shy personality, wondering if he could be roughed up in a market as demanding as Montreal. Faille had a little chat with his teammate about it.

“I told him: It’s like that in Montreal. You’ll have to put that aside. Work on the ice and they’ll be on your side.”

Reinbacher is shy. Reserved. So be it. But he’s a young man going about his business and he shouldn’t get distracted in Montreal.

“He’s very, very humble,” Faille said. “He’s a down-to-earth guy, he’s not going to pretend he’s someone else. He puts on his work boots and he works hard. He is humble, but he is confident on the ice.”

Come to think of it, there is sort of a parallel to the man who announced Reinbacher’s selection at number 5.

“Carey Price, he’s not the most flamboyant guy off the ice but on the ice, he did the job and no one can debate that,” said Faille.

Welcome to Montreal

David Reinbacher has taken his first strides in a Habs’ uniform yesterday and he will be participating in the Canadiens development camp from July 1st to the 4th, getting himself acquainted to the environment and some of the organization’s other prospects. The complete roster at this year’s development camp can be found here.

Nick Bobrov had this to say about the Canadiens’ first round pick:

“We felt that David, given what he’s done this year and last year, his growth, his potential are very, very intriguing and extremely difficult to obtain. We see that every draft, teams trying to trade up and get that guy. We were fortunate that he was there for us and we have very high hopes for him.” ~ Nick Bobrov, co-director of amateur scouting.

One thing we know, Reinbacher is proud to wear this jersey and here’s hoping that the positive fans will be able to take over the loud minority of disgruntled and never satisfied so-called “fans” out there.

“They [Canadiens] are a huge family. It’s so familiar there, from the first second it felt like home. So, so good there. When I met the coach, when I met the owner… I had really good feeling. So I’m just thankful for that.” ~ David Reinbacher

In closing, here’s what Kent Hughes had to say about his so-called “controversial” pick. After all, to the Canadiens, Reinbacher was the best player available. But in order to understand that, fans and media need to be on the same page as NHL teams to understand exactly what constitutes the “best player available”, right?

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