Lukas Reichel was the standout skater of the prospect showcase for the Blackhawks. There is a lot to like about his game, and a few things that needs work.
The Blackhawks found a gem in the 2020 draft in Lukas Reichel. Many thought of him as a reach and yes, he still isn’t proven, but there is a lot to look forward to when it comes to his game.
In the small sample size of a full-length scrimmage, he really impressed me personally with his offensive capabilities (and hesitation of using the skills) as well as his defensive prowess.
Reichel has awareness defensively, able to get back for a missed assignment by the D in the first period of the scrimmage. He was also great at faceoffs, something the Blackhawks sorely missed last season. Does this mean that he will start at center in the NHL? No, and I don’t think he’ll start in the NHL anyway.
His speed and work ethic is also spot on for his age group, something that was noticeable throughout the scrimmage. He would quarterback the powerplay, trying to set up Colton Dach for a scoring chance. His defense and capabilities of starting plays is a great thing, but something is sorely missing from his repertoire.
He needs to shoot the puck a lot more than he has. Just like Kirby Dach, he passes up chances to score to pass the puck instead of shooting it. Will this hinder his production in the NHL? I doubt it. Reichel is the type of guy who is a great second, third-line center who uses his hard work to score dirty goals in the paint. He is not a sniper obviously as he uses his hockey IQ and read of the game to set up his teammates for goals instead of making space for himself for a high-quality SOG.
I understand that Reichel isn’t a sniper, but the opposition will always have a read on how he plays the game. When he plays with a guy like Alex Debrincat or Patrick Kane, everyone knows that he will pass first instead of shoot, so they will take more care to cover the passing lanes.
When he learns how to create space for his own opportunities, the defense will have a harder time trying to figure out what he wants to do.