2023 Draft Profile: David Reinbacher

Photo: Stefan Emch

We have looked at three forwards that the Washington Capitals could draft with the eighth overall selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, so it’s time to take a look at a defensemen. First up is Austrian defenseman David Reinbacher.


DAVID REINBACHER – (18) – 6’2” – 187LBS, RD, EHC Kloten (NL)

There is no real consensus ranking on Reinbacher. Some mock drafts have him in the top 5, or just outside the top 10. However, he is arguably the top defenseman in the 2023 class. 

The 18-year-old has been playing in the National League (NL), which is the top Swiss league. This season with the EHC Kloten, he racked up 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) in 46 games. Reinbacher also became the third defensemen in NL league history to win the “NL Media Most Improved Player Award”. That is very impressive playing in a league against older players.

Reinbacher is a terrific puck-moving defenseman that is very nimble on his edges. He makes smart plays with the puck on breakouts because of his high hockey IQ. The Austrian is also not afraid to be physical in the corners. The Hohenems, native has exceptional defensive awareness and has great gap control. 

The right-handed rear guard has the mold of a modern two-way defenseman, but there are questions as to whether or not he can be a true No. 1 defenseman in the NHL. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic said that “he’s just a rock-solid, projectable two-way defenceman.”

Despite his high hockey IQ, Reinbacher tends to overcommit, especially in the neutral zone, which leads to odd-man rushes for the opposition. He is not very strong in 50-50 battles when he does not have the puck and occasionally misses a defensive assignment. 

There is a lot of upside for the Capitals to pick Reinbacher. However, as we said in our Colby Barlow profile, Washington should be looking at forwards in the upcoming draft. 

Reinbacher has been heavily linked to the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings already have Moritz Seider as their defenseman of the future and Simon Edvinsson is soon to join him. Reinbacher can help make their defense prospect pool deeper. 

Video highlights

Other takes: 

Scott Wheeler: The Athletic

Reinbacher’s got pro size, desired handedness, and a really strong foundation of tools that all but guarantee he’ll become an NHLer. I expect he’ll be the first defenceman picked when all is said and done, and it sounds like he’ll go as high as the top 10 (which I wouldn’t scoff at). Reinbacher’s a solid forward and backward skater (though he can look a little stilted at times) who gaps well and defends the rush effectively with a noticeably long stick. He looks to take instead of give in the neutral zone, regularly stepping up to try to bump puck carriers off possession and force dumps (though there are times when that style can leave him chasing if his timing’s off or he’s flatfooted). He’s strong. His head is always up and on a swivel and he does a good job pre-surveying the ice when he’s going back to get pucks through frequent shoulder checks.

The Hockey Writers

Reinbacher has an incredibly high defensive IQ. He always finds the open man and eliminates the threat in his zone. He is strong in front of his own net and aggressively moves opponents out of that high-danger area. Reinbacher makes great defensive reads and is rarely caught scrambling because he was out of position. He engages physically with opposing players but does not chase hits that would compromise his defensive positioning.

Joe Maciag, Recruit Scouting

Defensively, Reinbacher uses excellent gap control to kill offense off the rush and in one-on-one situations and his use of his stick is elite. He plays the body well enough and sometimes struggles in international tournaments but in league play Reinbacher isn’t afraid of using his body in puck battle situations and as he grows as a player, I expect this is a tool we will see increasingly.

Other rankings

Elite prospects: 12
NHL Central Scouting: 5 (Among EU skaters)
Bob MacKenzie: 20
SportsNet: 8

By Jacob Cheris

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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5 Responses to 2023 Draft Profile: David Reinbacher

  1. Sprak says:

    Reinbacher is my favorite in the draft behind the caps future pick at #8 Dalibor Dvorsky. I was thinking that they might pick him but Sandin destroyed his knee at the World Championships.

    • GRin430 says:

      Have you seen any authoritative reports on how bad that injury was? I searched and found a bunch of unsubstantiated social media commentary, but no official statements from anybody.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly, a lot of thin reporting. He’s still racking up game stats for Austria in World Championships

      • Sprak says:

        I have no idea, but he did leave that game and was sent to the hospital. He hasn’t been in any games since, but I haven’t been following the WC that much anyway

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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