On March 31st, 2018, The St. Louis Blues visited the Arizona Coyotes. Jay Bouwmeester had been outside the action due to his season-ending hip injury, and Carl Gunnarsson suffered an ACL tear just a week before. We had ourselves a look at Mitch Reinke, and he did well regardless of the unfortunate 6-0 defeat. (That hurts to say.)
He stepped into a bit of a dumpster fire. A game that was very painful to watch. In fact, while refreshing my memory, it was quite disturbing to be reminded of by the game highlights. Regardless, Reinke played 13 minutes of responsible hockey. He ended up with an even (0) rating alongside Robert Bortuzzo.
On the 25th of March, 2018 (just 6 days before the game), Reinke was one of three players to be signed to two-year entry-level contracts by the Blues. The other players signed that day were forwards, Nolan Stevens and Austin Poganski. It was Reinke who would experience “that feeling” first. (An NHL Debut).
Good for him. The undrafted kid with a great work ethic that won over the scouts. He seems to be a player that knows his identity. Mitch is an athlete that has shown consistency and growth throughout his young hockey career.
In a pre-game interview, John Kelly of Fox Sports Midwest asked Mitch Reinke what kind of player he expects and hopes to be in the NHL. Mitch confidently responded:
“Just a puck moving defenseman. I think that’s my strength. The way I think the game and move the puck. So, hopefully that.”
The 22-year-old Stillwater, Minnesota native stands 5’11” and weighs 181 lbs. He’s a right-handed shot, a smart player, and is willing to put his body on the line to block shots. He exhibits great hockey sense and consistent performance.
Mitch was the Captain of the Stillwater High School Ponies in his Junior and Senior years (2012-13 and 2013-14).
Reinke and the Ponies accomplished something special. They made an appearance at the Minnesota State Championship Tournament. It was the first time ever for Stillwater, so I imagine that was quite an experience to have been a part of.
In his high school career (2011-2014), Mitch scored 10 goals and registered 35 assists in a total of 67 regular season games. In 7 total high school playoff games, he registered 1 assist.
Reinke moved onto the USHL to play for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, and after one season there, he was donning the “C” once again. How he got there? Well, Mitch was part of the 2015 USHL All-Rookie Team, having scored 2 goals and tallied 19 assists for 21 points in 55 regular season games. Another positive is that fellow St. Louis Blues prospect, Erik Foley was a part of the team that year, who I’d like to add, lead the RoughRiders in points (but that’s another story).
Back to Mitch Reinke. The 18-year-old USHL rookie was able to maintain a (+19) rating, meanwhile only taking 10 PIM in those 55 games. Great signs of a responsible and productive player. The following season, as Captain of the RoughRiders, Reinke improved. This time around, Mitch was able to put up 30 points (5 goals and 25 assists) in a total of 56 regular season games.
Moving on… The following video was published to the Michigan Tech Huskies YouTube Channel on Sep 22, 2016. Not much has changed when it comes to who Mitch thinks he is. He seems to know what he’s good at. His description of his game is quite similar to that of today. A simple, straight to the point classification of what he’s confident he can bring to the table. After this video, he provided just that in his two seasons with the Huskies.
“Well, growing up, I was always a smaller defenseman. I really think it helped my hockey sense and my vision. Seeing the play develop and making a good first pass… I’d say that’s my game, but I like to jump into the offense as well and pick my spots. I’d say I don’t really lead the rush, but I definitely pick my spots and I can create offense that way.” – Mitch Reinke
Seasons/Stats at Michigan Tech (WCHA)
- (2016-17) 41GP, 6G, 14A ,20P, +6
- (2017-18) 35GP, 3G, 21A, 24P, +8 *Alternate Captain
- Third All-Star Team (2018)
- All-Rookie Team (2017)
Reinke is also the recipient of the 2018 Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award. This is awarded to the most outstanding defensive player. His 21 assists were ranked sixth in the league among defensemen, and his 24 points ranked 7th (also among defensemen). He did miss nine games, but still finished 5th in points for the Huskies, and ranked 3rd on the team in assists.
Hobey Baker Nominee
January 18th, 2018, Stuart Groskreutz of hometownsource.com published Stillwater grad Reinke earns Hobey Baker nomination. This was a good read from back in the moment. I can only imagine how honored Mitch was to be included.
The Hobey Baker Award is given to top NCAA men’s ice-hockey player. I will inform you that Adam Gaudette, (centerman signed to the Vancouver Canucks) won the award, but to be nominated in itself is an honor. Mitch Reinke was 1 of 74 nominees. He received well-deserved consideration.
Mitch Reinke is equipped with a great skill set, hard work ethic, and leadership qualities. Now, I’m not saying there’s a leadership role ahead of him. Maybe not in the NHL, and that’s certainly not in the Blues’ plans, but he has proven to be a great example both on and off the ice for his teammates (at every level he’s played).
This is the kind of guy you want in your system. The kind of guy you want on your team. I look forward to watching this player adapt with the San Antonio Rampage. If/when injuries happen on the back end in 2018-19 (forgive me), we’ll already have a good idea of who Mitch Reinke is, and what we can expect. Thanks for reading, Blues fans.