Isles first-rounder Reinhart says lack of playing time ‘a little frustrating’ (Update: He’s been sent back to junior)


Griffin Reinhart, New York’s big-bodied defenseman taken No. 4 overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been a healthy scratch in each of the Islanders’ first three games this season.

On Tuesday, he admitted the situation had started to wear on him a bit.

“It’s a little frustrating not playing, but I’ve been in junior several years now, and I don’t think there’s too much more for me to be learned down there,” Reinhart told the New York Post. “So I think just practicing here — even if I was just practicing here all year, and playing a few games — I’d learn more from these guys than going back to junior.”

Reinhart, 19, has only two playing options for this season (because of the CHL-AHL age limit rule): head back to WHL Edmonton, or stick it out with the Isles.

The latter seems to be the preferred scenario for all parties involved. Both the Isles and Griffin see the benefit of him being at the NHL level, though it is tough for the club to throw him in the mix, especially after Tuesday night’s 6-1 thrashing of Phoenix in which the six-man unit of Travis Hamonic, Lubomir Visnovsky, Thomas Hickey, Brian Strait, Matt Donovan and Andrew MacDonald finished a combined plus-6 with Donovan scoring his first goal of the year.

Still, the Isles will probably be more cognizant of making sure the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Reinhart doesn’t end up like the aforementioned Niederreiter.

After being placed in the Isles lineup at 19 years of age — too soon, some contended — Niederreiter was dispatched back to the AHL for one-and-a-half years of further seasoning. He became frustrated with his situation and rumblings of trade talks swirled before he was eventually dealt to Minnesota at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

UPDATE 11:02 a.m. ET

Well, this is interesting — in an odd twist, the Isles have decided to send Reinhart back to WHL Edmonton, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple. More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE 12:19 p.m. ET

Isles head coach Jack Capuano on the demotion:

“We sent Griffin down since if he’s not getting in the lineup and getting those minutes he should go back to juniors and get that experience.”

Monahan making it tough for Flames to send him back to junior


Just three games into the regular season, Calgary Flames fans are already seeing why the club used its sixth overall pick on Sean Monahan. The question now is, will they keep seeing it all season, or will he be returned to his junior club in Ottawa?

The argument for keeping Monahan: he has two goals and one assist as Calgary (1-0-2) has collected at least a point in each of its first three games.

But on the other hand: the 18-year-old center is minus-3 and, according to head coach Bob Hartley, “There’s lots of junior stuff still in his game.”

Monahan can play nine games with the Flames before they have to make a decision on whether to keep him or send him back to the OHL (and delay the start of his entry-level contract).

Calgary isn’t exactly deep at center, so if Monahan keeps producing at his current level, there’s reason to believe he could stay all season with the big club, playing meaningful minutes and gaining valuable experience in the process.

The Flames won’t want to rush him though, and delaying the start of that ELC will be tempting for a team that’s only starting its rebuild.

Canucks send ’13 first-rounder Shinkaruk back to junior

Hunter Shinkaruk
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Vancouver has now officially sent both of its 2013 first-round draft picks back to their respective junior clubs, returning Hunter Shinkaruk to WHL Medicine Hat on Monday — one day after dispatching Bo Horvat to OHL London.

Horvat, the ninth overall selection (acquired in the Cory Schneider trade) was the more ballyhooed prospect heading into training camp, but it was Shinkaruk (24th overall) that lasted longer and arguably made the bigger impression.

Head coach John Tortorella said he really liked Shinkaruk’s camp, adding the 18-year-old was “trying like hell” to make the team.

The moves mean none of Vancouver’s last four first-round picks — Horvat, Shinkaruk, Nicklas Jensen and Brendan Gaunce — are still with the team. It’s unclear what Vancouver plans to do with Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh (acquired yesterday from Carolina) or Ryan Stanton, claimed off waivers from Chicago on Monday morning.

Related: Hurricanes and Canucks swap prospects and a pick

Canucks send first-round pick Horvat back to junior

Bo Horvat, Jason Demers, Pascal Pelletier

One of Vancouver’s two first-round picks from the 2013 draft will be sticking with the team, but it may not be the one you’re expecting.

The London Knights announced that ninth overall section Bo Horvat was re-assigned to their team by the Canucks. Horvat was not at today’s practice in Vancouver leading to speculation he was headed back. 26th overall pick Hunter Shinkaruk will be sticking around.

While the two players were both thought to be staying in Vancouver as recently as yesterday, plans may have changed for the Canucks after acquiring Zac Dalpe from the Carolina Hurricanes late last night.

According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Canucks GM Mike Gillis views Dalpe as a guy who can play at center, the same position Horvat plays. Shinkaruk, meanwhile, will at least get a nine-game peek to see what he can do. As a winger, there’s more flexibility to fit him into the lineup.

Lightning send 2013 first-rounder Drouin back to junior

Jonathan Drouin, Kris Versteeg

Tampa Bay’s 2013 first-round pick won’t be winning the Calder Trophy this year.

The Lightning announced they’re sending third overall pick Jonathan Drouin back to his junior team in Halifax. Just yesterday we shared here how GM Steve Yzerman had a difficult decision on whether to keep their hot prospect or send him back. Clearly the team feels it’s better for his development to head back to the QMJHL.

Some fans may get critical of the move, but it’s one that can work out and the Lightning just need to look across the state for a prime example of that.

Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t join the Panthers immediately after being drafted in 2011, but he turned his first NHL season last year into a Calder Trophy-winning one. Lightning fans may want to see just what they got for such a bad season last year but they’ll have to be patient.

As for Drouin, the rest of the QMJHL should be terrified to see him back after the numbers he put up last season (41-64-105) in 49 games.