Leo Carlsson impressed at the World Championships…but so did David Reinbacher.
“When I watched Sweden against Austria [in the World Championships], I couldn’t help but think, David Reinbacher is outplaying Carlsson,” an NHL scout from outside the San Jose Sharks organization told San Jose Hockey Now.
Carlsson, at 18 years and 136 days old, became the youngest player to ever play for Sweden at Worlds, just ahead of future and present Hall of Famers Nicklas Bäckström, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Peter Forsberg. He’s now the favorite to go to the Columbus Blue Jackets with the No. 3 pick of the 2023 Draft, likely separating himself from other top prospects Will Smith and Matvei Michkov.
“Carlsson overtook Smith there, big body, he’s proven he can score, make plays, and produce against men. I mean, against NHL players,” the scout said of the 6-foot-4 center.
Smith did not make Team USA and Michkov’s Russia has been banned from international competition.
In much the same way, 18-year-old Reinbacher also held his own against much-older competition at the World Championships. The Austrian defenseman suffered a knee injury in the middle of the tilt against Sweden but returned from it in a week.
And the 6-foot-2 blueliner might now be a possibility for the San Jose Sharks at the No. 4 pick.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic suggested as much in his most recent mock draft on Thursday.
That raised the eyebrows of San Jose Sharks fans, especially those hoping to see the highly-skilled Michkov in teal when the winger’s KHL contract expires after the 2025-26 season.
But for this scout, Reinbacher belongs without question in the Carlsson, Smith, and Michkov conversation.
“Reinbacher could go as high as No. 3 for me, and I wouldn’t bat an eye. I think he’s a wonderful player,” he said. “If Carlsson’s not No. 3, I think it’s because Reinbacher goes in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the top-four [with Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli]. I could really see Smith getting to five.”
That would mean Michkov out of the top-five.
This fits with what another NHL scout told SJHN about Reinbacher before Worlds: “I think Reinbacher belongs in that discussion [with Carlsson, Smith, and Michkov].
“He’s a highly competitive two-way D with size and a right-handed shot. He had an excellent season in one of the best leagues in the world at age-18, similar to Carlsson. He’s ready to jump into the AHL this fall and likely to the NHL a year from now.
“He doesn’t have the offensive game to become a true No. 1 D, but it’s hard to find a top-pair RHD with size which makes a player like him very valuable in the NHL.”
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