Max Reinhart doesn’t want to hear the word ‘fluke.’
The Calgary Flames prospect is out to prove nobody uses that expression around him or to describe his 2011 WHL playoff performance.
Reinhart, who the Flames selected in the third round — 64th overall — in 2010, had a post-season performance to dream of last spring with the Kootenay Ice.
En route to helping his team claim the WHL championship, the 19-year-old centre collected 15 goals and 27 points in 19 playoff games.
Reinhart knows the coming Young Stars tournament in Penticton, B.C. — which opens Sunday when the Flames face San Jose Sharks prospects — is the first chance to prove he has the scorer’s touch.
“I proved I can be a good player (in the WHL) and want to carry that level of play into Penticton and show them I have improved and it wasn’t just a fluke playoff run,” Reinhart said. “Playing junior, you have good players, but this is another calibre. It lets you know where you’re at.”
The Flames prospects will also face players from the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers organizations.
Reinhart, whose father Paul was a two-time all-star game participant during his career with the Flames, has rocketed up the team’s chart of top prospects after a breakout season for the Ice.
On top of his playoff prowess, the 6-foot-1, 180-lb. product of Vancouver collected 34 goals and 79 points in 71 regular-season games.
Off the hop, it appears the team wants to see if he and 2011 first-round draft choice Sven Baertschi have chemistry.
They’re rooming together during the prospects camp.
“I walked in the room, turned the corner and there he was,” Reinhart said with a chuckle. “It’s kinda cool. You play against guys and then you get drafted and end up on the same team.”
Play against each other? Reinhart’s Ice beat Baertschi’s Portland Winterhawks in the WHL final.
You can’t help but wonder whether the series is a topic of conversation between the two.
“A little bit — it’s hard not to,” Reinhart admitted. “It was one of those series when it was a great experience and had fun. It got heated, but there’s no hard feelings.”
Besides, they both have bigger issues at hand.
Most likely, they’ll both be back in the junior ranks this season.
They both could also be part of the 2012 world junior tournament co-hosted by Calgary and Edmonton.
It would be a shock if Baertschi isn’t on Switzerland’s squad. Reinhart was surprisingly not invited to Canada’s summer camp, but he could still earn a ticket with a strong start to the season.
However, that’s way down the road.
For now, Reinhart wants to build on his spring play.
He plans to use the positive feelings he had during his playoff effort to pull through the ups and downs of the coming season.
“When you go on a run like that, it actually kind of catches you by surprise. We did a good job of staying focused, and proved we could be playoff performers,” Reinhart said. “It gives you confidence everywhere you go that you can raise your game to that next level.
“You want the puck on your stick when you get that feeling. There were a couple of games where I had linemates giving me the puck every time they could. It was fun to keep going with it.
“I’m sure when I find myself in tough situations, I’ll remember the feeling when we accomplished what we did. That experience helps you and motivates you.”