Habs shock by selecting Reinbacher with Michkov available


June 28, 2023 – Nashville, Tennessee

A year after causing a huge stir around the hockey world, by selecting Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick over favored center Shane Wright, the Montreal Canadiens have once again made a controversial selection in the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry draft.

Minutes earlier, the Anaheim Ducks raised eyebrows by selecting Swedish center Leo Carlsson second overall, when it had been widely speculated that they would be taking center Adam Fantilli, the consensus second best player available at the draft in that position. A delighted Columbus Blue Jackets General manager Jarmo Kekäläinen eagerly selected Fantilli, while the San Jose Sharks took center Will Smith at the 4th overall.

See Also: Connor Bedard becomes first overall pick of 2023 NHL draft

It seemed that a potential superstar in Matvei Michkov had fallen to the Montreal Canadiens at 5th overall, but when the Habs stepped up to the podium, it was the name of defenseman David Reinbacher that was called by injured goaltender Carey Price. While there is no doubting Michkov’s skill but there are still a whole lot of question marks attached to the player. Some geo-political, caused by the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, and others due to the lack of scouting that was able to be done on Michkov over the past season.

Reinbacher , 18, is a 6’2″ 185 lbs right-handed defenseman from Hohenens, Austria who scored 3 goals and 19 assists for 22 points in 46 games with HC Kloten. Known primarilly for his responsibility and defensive ability, Reinbacher has also been steadilly developing his transition ability and offensive game which should potentially move him from being a steady stay at home type defenseman into a two-way offensive threat.

The Arizona Coyotes also passed on Michkov in favor of fellow Russian Dmitri Simashev, who became the second defenseman selected at the draft. With the 7th overall pick, the Phillidelphia Flyers selected Michkov, who could potentially become the steal of the draft in time.

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At 8th, the Washington Capitals selected power forward Ryan Leonard. Nate Danielson went to the Detroit Red Wings at 9th and the St. Louis Blues took Dalibor Dvorsky to round out the top ten.