Carey Price apologizes to Montreal Canadiens’ draft pick after name fumble


David Reinbacher had a bit of a shock when Carey Price had a memory lapse and needed the help of general manager Kent Hughes to announce the Montreal Canadiens were picking the Austrian defenceman fifth overall in the NHL Draft on Wednesday evening in Nashville.

The star goaltender backed away partway through after appearing to forget Reinbacher’s name.

“Boy that was embarrassing,” Price wrote on Twitter afterwards. “Sorry David….. Reinbacher.”

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Meanwhile, Reinbacher admitted he was surprised to be chosen so early, but he had had a good meeting with the staff of the Canadiens the day before. “I had the feeling that I would be their choice, yes, but I had to not think about it too much and enjoy the moment,” Reinbacher told a press conference.

“It’s an incredible feeling. I don’t believe it yet. It’s a great honour to wear the jersey of such a great organization,” he added.

Reinbacher played in Switzerland with EHC Kloten last season. He had three goals and 19 assists in 46 games, leading the Swiss league in points by a player under 20.

He is an effective right-handed defender in all phases of the game and already has a certain maturity in his defensive game and good skating for his size of six feet two inches.

“David has always exceeded our expectations,” said Jeff Tomlinson, who was the head coach of EHC Kloten and Reinbacher for the last two seasons.

“I think he has potential in all aspects of the game. He has progressed a lot this season and I have even higher expectations for him,” Tomlinson said.

Reinbacher named Tomlinson as one of the main reasons he was the fifth player to take to the stage at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday.

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“He made my way to the draft easier, he gave me a lot of confidence,” Reinbacher said.

“When I spoke with the scouts, they asked me what was wrong with his game,” Tomlinson said.

“In fact, his game is so balanced and calm that he does not have many weaknesses. But to access at the next level, we’re going to have to work in the gym. It’s going to improve his power, which will be necessary to play in the NHL.”

Reinbacher is the seventh Austrian to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, and the third since 2020 after Marco Kasper (eighth in 2022) and Marco Rossi (ninth in 2020).

He tied the mark for an Austrian, while Thomas Vanek was also chosen fifth overall in 2003 by the Buffalo Sabres.

“It’s unreal,” Reinbacher said. “It makes me proud to be Austrian and to show young people that it is possible to be drafted so high.”

Last year, the Canadiens chose Slovak forward Juraj Slafkovsky first in the draft, presented at the Bell Centre.

This is the fourth time since 2012 that the Canadiens have one of the first five draft picks. They also picked Alex Galchenyuk (2012) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (2018) in third place.

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The last time the Canadiens selected fifth overall was in 2005, when they selected Price.

The Canadiens also had the second-to-last pick in the first round, the 31st, when team officials arrived in Nashville earlier this week.

Instead, Hughes traded that pick and a second-round pick, 37th overall, along with defenceman Gianni Fairbrother, to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday for forward Alex Newhook. The draft continues Thursday.

The Canadiens will start the day with a third-round pick (69th overall), three fourth-round picks (101st, 110th, 128th), two fifth-round picks (133rd, 144th), one sixth-round pick (165th) and a seventh-round pick (197th).

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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