The Las Vegas Golden Knights have recalled a familiar face in the midst of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, former New York Islanders prospect Griffin Reinhart.
Earlier this week, the Vegas Golden Knights recalled 10 players from their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs last week by the Chicago Blackhawks’ farm team, the Rockford IceHogs, but the Golden Knights’ season is still very much alive.
With a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 4, the team has advanced to the Western Conference Finals in their inaugural season and will face the winner of the Nashville Predators-Winnipeg Jets series.
Allowed to have an expanded roster, calling up players from the AHL is a very common move for teams in deep playoff runs and those players become known as “Black Aces.” (Rangers fans circa 1994 have another definition entirely). Essentially, they are practice squad players but they also get to take part in the NHL playoff experience which can be very valuable for both the team and players in question.
Among the 10 recalled from Chicago are two former members of the New York Islanders organization: Griffin Reinhart and Jake Bischoff.
There are six teams remaining in the hunt for the Stanley Cup and with Reinhart and Bischoff now on the Golden Knights roster, there are three former Islanders still in the running for the Cup; The other is Cory Conacher who has suited for two playoff games with the Lightning this postseason as well as 36 during the regular-season.
Conacher had eight goals and 12 points in his 36 regular-season games and has been held off the scoresheet in his two postseason contests, Games 3 and 4 of the Lightning’s first-round series against the New Jersey Devils. Conacher’s stay in the Isles’ organization was short-lived.
He signed with Isles on the opening day of Free Agency in 2014 and scored his first and only goal as an Islander in the team’s home opener. With four points through 15 games, Conacher was placed on waivers in mid-December and after clearing he reported to Bridgeport. With the Sound Tigers, Conacher had five goals and 23 points in 28 games before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks organization at the Trade Deadline.
Reinhart was the Isles’ first-round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the fourth overall pick. Reinhart made his professional debut on Oct. 10, 2014, with the Islanders and played a total of nine NHL games (eight regular-season, one in the playoffs) recording one assist.
The defenseman spent the majority of the season in Bridgeport scoring seven goals and 22 points in 59 games. At the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, he was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the 16th overall pick (Mathew Barzal) and the 33rd overall pick. The Isles then packaged that 33rd overall pick with their own third-round pick (72nd overall) and traded it to Tampa Bay in exchange for the 28th overall pick (Anthony Beauvillier). Reinhart played a total of 30 NHL games (including one playoff game in the 2016-17 season) over two seasons in the Oilers organization but spent the majority of it in the AHL. He was left unprotected by the Oilers for the Expansion Draft and was claimed by the Golden Knights.
Less than a month later, the pending Restricted Free Agent (RFA) signed a two-year contract with Vegas. The North Vancouver, British Columbia native made the big club out of training camp but was waived in late October. Reinhart cleared waivers and was assigned to the Wolves where he put up 13 points in 63 games (including playoffs). Now Reinhart is up with the big club again, this time as a Black Ace.
Like Reinhart, Bischoff was drafted by the Isles in 2012. In fact, the Islanders used all seven selections in the 2012 draft on defensemen. The seventh-round, 158th overall pick played four years with the University of Minnesota and when his senior year season ended he joined the Sound Tigers.
The Grand Rapids, Minnesota native only played six games with Bridgeport but scored twice and added an assist leading to a two-year contract on March 28, 2017. However, Bischoff was packaged to Vegas in an Expansion Draft trade that included Mikhail Grabovski, the 2017 15th-overall pick (Erik Brännström), and a 2019 second-rounder. In return, Vegas took goaltender and pending in restricted free agent JF Berube from the Isles instead of players like Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome and Calvin de Haan who were left unprotected.
With the Wolves this season, Bischoff played 69 games with seven goals and 23 points to show for it. Now, he’s up with Vegas for the Golden Knights’ remarkable playoff run as they head to the Western Conference Finals.