Oil Kings' big power-play

DAVID CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

The past is past.

The Edmonton Oil Kings had no qualms about bringing into their future fold the son of - brace yourselves - a former CALGARY FLAME!

In fact, they traded up in yesterday's WHL Bantam Draft just to do so.

Griffin Reinhart, selected with the third overall pick, will arrive in town today to try on an Edmonton jersey with his mom and dad - Paul, a key part of the Calgary defence that created the original Battle of Alberta with the Oilers' No. 99, No. 11 and company - at his side.

Oil Kings GM Bob Green doesn't see Flames in his eyes. He sees another kind of red.

"He's got great bloodlines," Green said yesterday as the first round of the draft ended.

The 14-year-old's still-forming frame heightens the possibilities, for sure.

But you don't use a first pick - let alone trade up for one - just to make your team bigger.

"You don't want to sacrifice skill and speed for size," said Green. "Fortunately, Griffin's got all those aspects. He's six-foot-three, 195 pounds and he can skate. He can handle the puck and shoot."

There were outside possibilties the Kings could secure one of the first two picks, but assistant GM Randy Hansch was more than happy to get the guy they wanted. The Portland Winter Hawks took Derrick Pouliot of Weyburn, Sask., at No. 1, while the Moose Jaw Warriors took Vancouver-born Notre Dames Hounds D-man Morgan Rielly at No. 2.

But Hansch said Reinhart was clearly in their scope. And there was little or no chance Reinhart - whose older brother Max is already in the Dub, playing centre for the Kootenay Ice - would fall into their laps at their original No. 9 slot.

"The top four (defencemen) are all good," said Hansch. (The Red Deer Rebels took Calgary-born Matt Dumba with the next pick.)

"We were happy to make the playoffs this year, but we wanted to get back into the lottery," said Green. "And, luckily, we were able to do so."

The Chilliwack Bruins were a perfect trade partner.

"We had an extra pick and Chilliwack was looking for an extra pick, so we thought we could try and get something done."

The two teams swapped first-rounders, with the Bruins getting another third-rounder and 18-year-old forward Shayne Neigum. Also, Chilliwack will get the Oil Kings' first pick in the upcoming import draft. With imports Tomas Vincour and Robin Soudek set to return next year, the Oil Kings didn't need it anyway.

Both Green and Hansch said that you sweat out the scenarios that may work.

There's always the possibilty, said Green, that "somebody decided to jump ahead of us. We realize there's no guarantees, (but) our goal was just to move up into the lottery and give ourselves an opportunity to get a better player.

"It's tougher to find good defencemen."

A bantam draft player can play up to five regular-season games as a midget-age player and be a major-junior rookie at 16. Reinhart has played major midget this season in the playoffs as an under-ager in Vancouver, where back injuries prompted his Kitchener, Ont.-born dad to retire at 31 years old, after two seasons with the Canucks.

"It's never an easy transition for the young guys, but with (Griffin's) size and strength and skating ability, it's going to be a lot easier for him to fit in."

Ice chips ...

The Oil Kings picked 10 other players yesterday: 30th LW Mitchell Moroz (Calgary), 52nd C Morgan Zulinick (Kamloops), 74th D Matthew Miller (Winnipeg), 96th C Tristan Seiben (Edmonton), 118th D Cody Pettpiece (Saskatoon), 145th G Wade Moyls (Kamloops), 162nd D Ashton Sautner (Wolseley, Sask.), 184th RW Bowen Croft (Sherwood Park), 206th LW Anthony Borri (Coquitlam, B.C.), and 207th LW Darren Kramer (Peace River).


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