Blackhawks Select D Sam Rinzel with No. 25 Overall Pick

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Sam Rinzel

Blackhawks Select D Sam Rinzel with No. 25 Overall Pick

Chicago Blackhawks

It was a BUSY night for Kyle Davidson and the Chicago Blackhawks. Their third trade of the night brought back a third first-round pick and a veteran goaltender.

And, with the 25th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks selected defenseman Sam Rinzel.

Sam Rinzel

DOB: June 25, 2004
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 181
Shoots: Right
2023-24 Team: University of Minnesota

Ranked #29 by Chris Peters (The Daily Faceoff)
Ranked #50 by Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
Ranked #52 by Scott Wheeler (The Athletic)
Ranked #62 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #31 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #28 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #37 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #19 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #43 by SMAHT SCOUTING

Tier: Projected to play NHL games

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: Below NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Rinzel played most of the season for Chaska in Minnesota high school. He was arguably even better in his limited time playing in the USHL for Waterloo and was also solid for USA at the Hlinka Gretzky. He’s committed to Minnesota.

Analysis: Scouts are excited about Rinzel due to his tool kit. He’s 6-foot-4, skates quite well for a man his size, and has offensive skill. He’s quite dangerous in transition due to his reach and speed and is able to create offense off the rush. He’s not a true playmaker but shows some flashes in that regard. Defensively he’s solid due to his physical assets although he’s not overly physical. I’d like him to be a more consistent overall player, but he has so many assets that I think he’ll find a way to carve out an NHL career.

Rinzel’s appeal is all about the potential because it feels like he’s just scratching the surface. He’s a long, right-shot defender who thrives in transition, is relatively inexperienced (he split his season between Minnesota’s high school circuit and the USHL, impressing in both, and will return to junior next year for one season before heading off to the University of Minnesota), has room to fill out his frame, has already quickly played catch-up with his peers along a steep progression, and has time (thanks to a late-June birthday) to do more of that. He’s a fluid skater with an active stick and an eager approach to playing offence and defence that keeps him involved in all three zones.

He’s a big, raw blueliner who split time between his high school team and the Waterloo Black Hawks. I think Rinzel’s stock may be higher had he played junior all year. His high school performances were fine, but at the junior level under better competition, I thought he raised his level a few notches but you could see he was behind a little bit. Rinzel is a very good skater for a player his size and has an innate ability to get pucks up ice with some incredible skill and vision. What he has in physical tools, though, he lacks in the hockey sense department. I think he just needs time and experience to make better reads and quicker decisions. He might have some of the highest upside of any defenseman in this draft, though, as a 6-foot-4, right-shot defenseman that can skate. He’s a bit of a project, but I think a fun one for a team that has time and resources to devote to him.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab