Lukas Reichel was the Chicago Blackhawks 2020 first-round draft pick.
Now it seems like Reichel is getting ready to make the jump to the NHL with the Blackhawks this season, but is that the best move for him? The NHL is a grueling league. We have watched a handful of players make the jump to the NHL over the past few seasons, none as quickly as Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist, and it seems like Reichel might be the next on that list.
Reichel is 19 years old, and spent the last year playing for Eisbären Berlin in the DELin 38 games he put up 27 points. Reichel has also represented his country at a handful of different tournaments throughout the past year.
Reichel might be ready to make the jump to the NHL this season. He seems to be someone the team thinks very highly of, and he has been talked about a lot to fill into the lineup possibly alongside Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik. However, let’s take a look at all the different forwards Chicago has.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, Tyler Johnson, Dylan Strome, Brandon Hagel, Ryan Carpenter, Henrik Borgstrom, Adam Gaudette, Jujhar Khaira, Kirby Dach, Alex Nylander, and Philipp Kurashev.
So when you add up all those guys the team is 14 forwards. I already did not include Brett Connolly just going off the assumption that for salary cap reasons he will most likely not be on the lineup but rather be in the AHL.
There are a few other forwards who might get another shot this year. Mike Hardman and Mackenzie Entwistle both looked good during their stints in Chicago this past season. The point I am trying to make is there are already a lot of forwards on this team. Unless Reichel already has the skill of a top-six forward that can put up a lot of points and be great, maybe they should let him spend a season in the AHL getting used to the system and giving him an opportunity to play top-line minutes with the IceHogs.
Chicago already is going to have a tough time finding out their 12 forwards to play in the lineup every night with the list of forwards I named above. 14 guys but only 12 spots. It is going to get complicated when it comes to figuring out who to scratch and who to possibly send down to the AHL.
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Chicago already has a lot of different NHL-ready forwards. Unless Reichel goes into training camp and completely outperforms everyone else, I think there is a good case to be made that they should play him in the AHL for a year and see if he can take his game to the next level. Plus if someone gets hurt midway through the year they can still give him a shot a little while into the season.