David Reinbacher had a successful start to his NLA season, picking up the game-winning goal in a 4-2 victory versus Biel-Bienne. The win moved Kloten into a tie for tenth place in the Swiss League standings, improving its record to 3-5-1-1.
Reinbacher played on the top pairing with Matthew Kellenberger but was on both the second power-play and penalty-killing units as he was eased back into the lineup in that regard. Reinbacher recently returned to Kloten from Montreal’s training camp, and can be expected to take on an even bigger role once he’s settled in. He played 17:16 but would have logged closer to 20 minutes had he not suffered a minor injury in the third period that kept him out of the defensive rotation for three shifts.
Reinbacher is just so smart. He may trail only Connor Bedard among 2023 draftees when it comes to hockey sense, and even then it is close as Reinbacher defensively has no peers in that department. With all due respect to his Kloten coach Gerry Fleming, I don’t find his comparison of Reinbacher to Jeff Petry appropriate when it comes to his overall hockey sense and consistency.
When Petry was “on” and all grey matter was functioning….his all-around game could be similar to Reinbacher’s. Unlike Petry, however, Reinbacher’s light switch is always on. He is a highly intelligent defender. He reads plays well, is rarely in a poor position, gets his stick in the right spot, sees the ice extremely well and jumps into the play at the right times.
He may be the perfect complement to Lane Hutson when they both join the team. What we will also see, though, particularly late in games protecting leads and on penalty kills, is a tandem of Reinbacher and Kaiden Guhle at some point in the near future. Those two have the potential to be the pre-eminent shutdown tandem in the entire league.
There is nothing an NHL coach appreciates more than a safe defenceman, and Reinbacher invariably makes the safe, smart play. Something as subtle as keeping his stick in the proper position along the wall to protect the puck from defenders…or chipping the puck to the proper option as soon as he gets it…he’s rarely looking to make the spectacular play (which can often backfire because it’s risky); he is looking to make the right play.
Fans shouldn’t be expecting the next PK Subban, and that’s okay…as it will save coach Marty St. Louis a lot of grey hairs.
Here is a look at his notable plays in the contest. There were a couple of minor miscues that didn’t lead to anything significant against his team. Other than that; it was a mistake-free return to the Swiss league. He makes Kloten a better team, and hopefully, one that fights for a top-eight playoff position.
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