Don’t adjust your eyes when reading the headline. Max Reinhart will be joining Corey Potter at Kölner Haie of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Reinhart has officially signed a one-year deal that will have him playing his first season of European hockey in 2016-17.
It wasn’t that long ago when the Potter news struck. That could kind of be seen coming but this one was a question mark once the season ended. Reinhart, despite the lack of NHL playing time, just stamped down one of his best pro playing season of his career. He logged a career best 73 games at the AHL level as well as a career best 23 goals and plus/minus rating of +16. The games that he missed weren’t due to injury, either. He was sent home to clear his head after being upset with a lack of NHL opportunities. He returned, conducted himself like a professional, continued to wear an “A” on the front of his jersey that his teammates voted for him to wear, and finished a solid season for himself.
At 24-years of age Reinhart leaves the North American game behind temporarily. If he were to follow-up what he did in 2015-16 as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals in the Europe scene for a few years I don’t see why his path to an NHL career would be disrupted. It may be a slightly different story but Derek Ryan out of the Carolina Hurricanes organization this past season comes to mind as someone that can come back and get NHL playing time after such a long time away from North America. Ryan is 29-years old and spent his pro playing career in Austria and Sweden after a junior and collegiate playing career. Reinhart should do very well overseas. I can see him transitioning away from the DEL to a more competitive European league such as Russia, Finland, or Sweden off of the 2016-17 season before potentially coming back towards the NHL and AHL scene.
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