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With David Reinbacher’s season in Switzerland now over, many feel it’s only a matter of time before he joins Laval for the stretch run.  But there is another option for him, bringing him up directly to Montreal.

Before digging into the argument behind this idea, let me make this clear.  I think he’s going to wind up with Laval if he indeed comes to North America.  But the case to put him with the Habs is certainly a defensible one so it’s worth covering.

First things first.  If Montreal recalls Reinbacher from Kloten, they would also be restricted to playing him in nine or fewer games to avoid burning the first year of his entry-level contract.  That shouldn’t be too hard to abide by.

Presumably, the Habs would want to give Reinbacher ample practice time before putting him into a game.  If he joined the team on the road trip early in the week, I’d peg Sunday’s game in Seattle as a possible debut.  At that point, there would only be 13 games left in the season so they could navigate giving him nine games without throwing too much at him all at once with every third game or so in the press box.

He’d then get an opportunity to work with the NHL coaching and development staffs for the better part of a month and as we’ve seen with the young defenders, they’ve all been able to adapt relatively well.  I think Reinbacher could do so as well, giving him a nice leg up for next season.  Roster-wise, it would also free them up to assign Jayden Struble back to Laval a bit earlier than they otherwise might have done so.

The other benefit is that it would lock in his presence for Austria at the Worlds.  The regular season ends in mid-April and the Worlds start May 10th with training camp and exhibition games before that.  That’s enough time for a quick rest and then full participation in that event, one I suspect he’d like to play in after Austria didn’t make it to the World Juniors.

Assuming Montreal maxed out on Reinbacher’s NHL games, that would be nine there and seven at the Worlds (plus any exhibition action), keeping him in game action until the end of May.  All in all, not a bad end to his season.  Notably, it would be a similar number of games as he’d realistically get with Laval.

Now let’s say he goes to the Rocket.  At most, he’s getting in a dozen games with them between now and the end of the regular season on April 20th.  Realistically, he probably misses one or two of those which would be pretty close to the nine he’d get with Montreal.

But let’s talk about the playoffs.  If Laval finishes fourth or fifth in the standings, they’d play a best-of-three series.  If they win that, the first real round is then a best-of-five.  And if I’m being realistic, that’s probably as far as they go based on how their season has gone.  At most, that’s eight extra games and at a minimum, two, if they finish in the top five.

But if Laval plays in that best-of-five series, that could very well take the Worlds off the table.  While the bracket isn’t available just yet, it stands to reason that the best-of-five series wouldn’t start until a few days before the end of April, ending around the time the tournament starts.  Yes, Austria could hold a spot for him for him to join partway through but if not, we’re talking about a handful of extra games for the Rocket taking away from a handful of extra games internationally.

That isn’t a great net gain, especially when you consider he wouldn’t get the training time with the big club.  Is nine NHL games and seven international games better than around 18-20 or so in Laval?  There’s a case to be made that it would be.

Again, I think Reinbacher is ultimately going to wind up with the Rocket and there’s something to be said about trying to get Laval as a whole some playoff action; it shouldn’t necessarily be viewed solely through what’s best for the fifth-overall pick.  But there is a reasonable argument to make to have him finish up with Montreal.  We should find out soon enough which route they take.