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Instant Analysis: Canadiens David Reinbacher Pick A ‘Safe’ Choice



Montreal Canadiens reinbacher

It’s official, the Montreal Canadiens picked Austrian defenceman David Reinbacher with the 5th overall pick at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

The defenceman spent the last two seasons playing professional hockey in Switzerland, featuring on Kloten HC’s blueline. He projects as a solid two-way defenceman with limited offensive capabilities.

He can read the play quite well and is known to play with the confidence of a 10-year veteran. At times, he’s a little too confident, which leads to turnovers, but all young defencemen tend to have issues to work through at that age.

He’s not a particularly physical defenceman, even though he does have a 6’3″, 195 lbs frame. He will need to work on his core strength if he’s to thrive in the NHL, however, his impressive wingspan should serve him well.

His presence in the offensive zone is hard to ignore. Reinbacher has a heavy shot and is not afraid to use it. One thing Canadiens fans should hope to see is Reinbacher provide some help by quickly corralling and redistributing pucks, one of the most important aspects of any team that finds success in transition. He’s not what I would describe as an elite puck-moving defenceman today, but considering he’s quite young, there’s still a lot of time to develop his skillset.

His vision is excellent, though not necessarily to the point that we should compare him to Andrei Markov, but given the Canadiens were one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL over the last two years, it’s understandable the team would want to add a player of Reinbacher’s ilk to their prospect pool.

Questionable Pick?

Reinbacher projects to be a good player.

In fact, he projects to be a VERY good player.

The question becomes, did the Montreal Canadiens make a mistake by ignoring arguably the second-most talented player at the draft?

A player like Matvei Michkov is hard to come by, and to win a Stanley Cup you absolutely need several star players in your lineup.

Reinbacher is a ‘safe’ choice, but as it stands, it feels like the Canadiens took the riskiest decision of them all by ignoring Michkov

Time will tell whether Hughes and Co. made the right choice, but if Reinbacher fails to develop into an impact player, it will surely stain his tenure as general manager of the Canadiens.

Juraj Slafkovsky is also part of that equation. That’s not to say he’s a bust. He was used poorly last season and there’s ample time for him to become an impact player.

But if neither Slafkovsky nor Reinbacher reaches their potential, the Montreal Canadiens will have essentially thrown away an opportunity to add the type of talented players they desperately need at the NHL Draft.

And that’s a sin for any general manager.

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So now we want MB back? He did better? I don’t get it.

What other choice did they have in last years draft, one of the worst in recent memory? Wright? He showed even less than Slaf did. Anyone realize Slaf played 34 games last season. Wright played 8. Not a single other first rd pick played a game in the NHL last season. Slaf will be fine. He may not become that elite forward we need, but that’s NOT his fault for being the best player in a bad draft.

Mich is a BIG ?, too much risk. He looks tiny too, he was the smallest guy on the stage when his name was announced by the Flyers. Don’t we need bigger and stronger? That’s what everyone has been bitching about over these last playoffs. He doesn’t play D either. And I don’t want to wait 3 years to find out about this guy. So was Rein a “safe” pick? Sure, Mich was too risky and no other player at #5 they thought would become elite.

I trust Hugo. This was not a bad pick or a questionable pick. It was a solid pick and filled the biggest need on this team. Rein will be a solid dynamic Right Dman.

Sean C.

Wright is currently on a better development track than Slafkovsky. If they were so insistent on filling a defense need, they could have taken Nemec or Jiricek, both doing better than Slafkovsky as well.


You don’t know that for certain. Let’s see what they do this season, then we can compare…


Dude, not true. Stop with the misinformation. It is way to early to tell. They are playing in different leagues too.


“The question becomes, did the Montreal Canadiens make a mistake by ignoring arguably the second-most talented player at the draft?”

Answer? Hell yes! It’s an even bigger mistake than Carey Price forgetting his name at the most embarrassing moment. I’m not saying Reinbacher sucks or anything close to that. I’m saying that this team is desperate for elite finishers and that’s what Michkov would have provided. Defence is probably the area that we’re most flush with prospects (regardless of which way they shoot, a grossly overrated issue). So now we’re going to eventually have to trade away at least 3 of Guhle, Harris, Xhekaj, Barron, Kovacevic, Hutson, Engstrom, Struble and many more, when we could have had an elite sniper, a position where we only have one prospect (Caufield) and something that has been missing from this organization for almost 30 years.

John Smith

It’s really hard to feel optimistic when for months on end we, less informed fans saw things such as the following:


Elite Prospects: 9

Future Considerations: 10

Daily Faceoff: 8

The Hockey News: 9

TSN (Bob McKenzie): 20

TSN (Craig Button): 20

NHL Central Scouting (Intl): 5

Sportsnet: 8

Recruit Scouting: 11

Dobber Prospects: 16

Draft Prospects Hockey: 16

Smaht Scouting: 20

Most of us felt REALLY excited. There was an assumption that we were finally going to land a star player. That we were no longer going to be the Minnesota Wild of the East. And then the carpet was pulled from under us.

Perhaps Montreal’s scouting staff is smarter than these sources but it’s pretty reasonable for us less in the know fans to feel underwhelmed at the moment. General Managers have a lot of political capital when they first come in. The tandem of HuGo used some up here. I hope that we get some strong intel from management explaining their head scratching decisions these past two days.

John Smith

I need to remember that David Reinbacher is just an 18 year old kid. I should not have taken my frustrations out on him. Here’s what one fan from a competitor website wrote:

“For what its worth, the RDS On Jase crew called pro hockey player Eric Faille during their livestream moments ago. The guy played with Reinbacher all year in the Swiss league. He basically said that this kid will become a Josi and that everyone talking trash will eat their words pretty soon. The kid was getting better and more confident by the week and at the end of the season was running the power play. Also said that he could be in the NHL as soon as next year.”

Maybe HuGo And Montreal’s scouting staff are smarter than us fans and the BPA, and a right defensman to boot, was indeed David Reinbacher. I choose to remain optimistic.


Exactly. He even just touches Roman Yosi territory, and 90% of genius Habs fans will be eating their words.


Yep. I 100% agree. Throw in giving away picks #31 & #37 for what will likely be a 3rd line player and it’s been a disaster imo. I think HuGo are overthinking things. Instead of asking stupid questions like what animal you are or would you bomb your friends in the ocean to kill the enemy if ordered to do so, just draft the best bloody player available! To pass on Michkov to add yet another Dman to an already bloated position is just stupid. This was the year to grab offensive stars. If we wanted to go the route of a Dman, next year’s draft is loaded. I wondered when Briere stepped up to the mic and congratulated Vegas on winning the Cup and Poile on his retirement and then thanked Nashville for their hospitality, I thought he might thank Montreal for being so stupid and passing on Michkov so we can take him.


Tyrone, I like most of your posts, you are normally very insightful and objective. But you are completely missing the boat here. Let’s play Habs GM for a moment…

We already have Nikki and Dach. So there is no overwhelming need to overpay to move up to get Will Smith. We already have plenty of forwards with a lot of potential, like Farrel and Slaf and Roy, and heck even throw Gurian and Newhook in there. There is a chance at least one of these guys hits it relatively big. Now, I’m not saying any one of them becomes Brayden Point, but that’s the Point…Point was just a 3rd rd draft pick and he became elite. Any one of these guys above could become elite. So maybe the chances aren’t high, but there is still a decent chance one of them hits it big.

We find that out within the next couple of seasons or so.

We find out nothing if we had drafted Mich because we won’t play in N.A. until 26-27! By then, one or more of the guys above may have hit it big, there’s more draft picks to come, there are trades, there are UFAs, etc. By 26-27, we may not even NEED Mich. And that assumes he is “all that” by then. You don’t know 100%, nobody does (except for maybe Briere, I suppose he absolutely knows!!!). There’s a chance HE turns out to underperform…the same chance of Farrel becoming an elite winger.

But waiting until 26-27 at least is NOT in the cards, I’m sorry, and that’s what Hughes thinks too.

EVERY team in the TOP 10 (except Philly) drafted based on need. Even the top 4 teams – all desperately needed franchise centers. Arizona…as soon as Rein was taken, they immediately took Plan B on D and drafted what they needed. So the Habs nailed the best D in the draft, who is a Right shot that they desperately needed (that position was empty – not “bloated”), who has a good shot of becoming a Roman Yosi. That is a great pick at #5.

The “snipers” will come – and sooner than Mich would have. Where is all the patience with the rebuild now? I really don’t get this…

Last edited 3 months ago by morrisk

I enjoy chatting with you too. Thanks.

I wasn’t worried about using assets to trade up for a C that went 2-4. If one had fallen to us, it would have been great, but like you said, we’re ok with Suzuki & Dach. I wanted Michkov more because we need elite snipers more than anything. He would have been a #1 pick in any other draft and we won’t be in that position again unless we win the lottery. Sure, one of the players you mentioned could become a star and Michkov could be a bust, but statistically speaking that is very unlikely. We are bloated on defence. I think handedness is overblown. As long as we’re putting 6 excellent Dmen on the ice we’re good. We already have well beyond that on the roster and pipeline. D was the position of least need.


You had me until the last 5 sentences…

Oy vey.


“statistically speaking ” explain what you meant by this Tyrone? What stats are you talking about?


Actually the vast majority of Tyrones post are nonsense. He will contradict himself ALL the time, sometimes even in the same post. His hockey knowledge is very low. He is incapable of filtering out the noise from the many “claim to know it all pundits” whom don’t show us that they actually know anything more than we do and he has a fascination with a players size. It is best to ignore him unless you want to pull your hair out trying to understand his point.
You don’t usually get a lot of love on here and I do not agree with some of your posts, but often I do and you always have a point that is easy to follow.


Remember this in a few years Tyrone, it will haunt you. This is why you need to stop posting your opinion, it is just so wrong, but unfortunately we will have to wait at least 3 years to find out. I hope I do NOT have to put up with you for that long.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave

No Tyrone, you are so wrong again!


Breathe in and chill. They took the best D, and a RHD, available. And he looks closer to being an adult male (so 1 to 2 yrs away) than a bunch of kids walking across the stage.

The future D group now has some good size, some nasty and some talent. Seems to me Vegas had that, Tampa had that (with some help from Montreal)…and to win a Cup it is required.

Yup, they need to find offence but i am betting Suzuki, Caufield, Slaf and Newhook will get better. Not sure yet on Rafael-Pinard (but like what i saw), Beck and Farrell but some potential. They still have 2024 draft to look at true offensive threats…Leonard was a good option this year. Slaf and Newhook at 20 and 22 yrs of age already supplying more offence than most of current bottom 6 and could argue more than Hoffman, Drouin, Armia, Gurianov Dvorak. That said, the team needs to get goal scoring up over the 250 goal mark to start to move needle towards playoffs.

All said – I have watched big, mobile D neutralize small and large offensively talented players (think Edmonton) over last few Cup runs. Reinbacher will be good, the D has some nice talent in place. Let it develop and lets see how the Canadiens manage to improve the offence. I have a good deal of faith that St. Louis can help on offensive development and i still agree they need to add more in this area but i am not unhappy with the pick at #5.


THANK YOU! Finally, an objective, insightful, forward thinking post!! Spot on, mate!


If the young Russian was the next Ovi, why did everyone after Chicago up until Phili make a mistake and pass on him.
Also, being old enough to remember the Habs from th late 60’s and especially watching the 70’s the team was built from the D out. Yes Dryden was a good goalie but facing 20 or less shots on many nights made his night easy. They had great offense but the big three carried the day on D.
I too was at first disappointed with the pick, then I started to think logically. Now they have two top tier RD in the system. Now with free agent money available as of 2024 they can hunt for more offense which is needed.


Exactly…if that Russian was such the OMG, then why did 6 teams pass on him? CHI, CLB, ARIZ, all are in no rush to ice a great team – they all could have waited the 3 years too, yes?

There’s something more than meets the eye with this guy. One of those things is he is TINY!


Sorry Marc, I am way late on this one, but I had to let the dust settle and try to find out more on what I was missing on Michkov. Turns out, not much so I have say that all of you that are star struck for a player from Russia that has only played in the Russian Jr leagues and the KHL, give your heads a shake. I am not saying he is not an NHLer, but to call him a superstar in the making is a bit ridiculous. Wideman, in his last yr in the KHL won the best dman award. Tells you the quality of play that is present in the KHL. Next is your claim that if Reinbacher or Slaf (bashing him again I see) is not a star, then the Habs will have thrown away talent. Well that totally depends on just 2 players. Wright and Michkov. They were the only other choices at the respective drafts. What if both of them are busts, did Hugo still make a mistake? Easy to be an armchair GM (for me too), but if your going to make claims, make them fair and not one sided. It is going to take years to see whom is right, but even though he will make mistakes, I will choose Hugo’s path long before I choose yours.