Lukas Reichel, the top prospect for the Chicago Blackhawks, has been playing for the Rockford IceHogs after being sent down before the end of training camp. Reichel, the 17th overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2020 NHL Draft, has been on a point streak for the IceHogs in the past 10 games, notching three goals and six assists, with six penalty minutes and a -4 rating to his credit. Reichel also scored his first professional hat trick against the Manitoba Moose.
Prior to being drafted by the Blackhawks in 2020, Reichel played for Eisbären Berlin for two seasons in the Deustche Eishockey Liga and notched a total of 52 points in 80 games for the team. Coincidentally, he played against the Blackhawks in a preseason game before the 2019-2020 NHL season.
A bright future for the young forward, his skills were enough to stand out to former disgraced General Manager Stan Bowman and his staff at last year’s NHL combine. Reichel has a great skills resume including his offensive potential, ability to be in key scoring situations and can create playmaking opportunities with his passing mentality.
The Center depth for the Blackhawks currently consists of Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach, Dylan Strome, Tyler Johnson, Ryan Carpenter and Adam Gaudette. Toews and Dach are the current frontrunners to be the rotating #1 and #2 centers, but there is currently a hole at the #3 center spot for the Hawks. With forwards Dylan Strome and Adam Gaudette on the trade block and Tyler Johnson on the LTIR, there is currently an opening for the young prospect for the long term.
If Reichel were to be promoted, these line combinations could be considered…
DeBrincat – Dach – Kubalik
T. Johnson – Toews – Kane
Kurashev – Reichel – Hagel
Khaira – Strome – Carpenter
With having Tyler Johnson playing on the wing as a top six forward and Hagel possible playing on the 3rd line once they return from the injured reserve, placing Reichel as a 3rd line center would help the struggling Blackhawks offense and slowly ease his development into a full time NHL centerman.
Head Coach Derek King, who briefly coached Reichel in Rockford before taking over for former head coach Jeremy Colliton, could have an impact on his development. King is described as a listener amongst the players and staff. From recent viewings, King allows his forwards to go out and play their style and create their own plays/chemistry, which could help Reichel in the long term.
According to Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Blackhawks are in no rush to promote Lukas Reichel. King didn’t point leave out the possibility of promoting Reichel in the future.
“We’re going to let him just keep playing and playing,” King said recently. “Let’s get another hat trick and…another hat trick. Then maybe we’ll talk about a [call up].” (Courtesy of Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times).
While it would make sense for him to be promoted from Rockford right now, Reichel is considered to be the long-term goal and the future of the center depth for the Chicago Blackhawks beyond this season.
The young forward could also have a chance to play for Germany in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but it has not been confirmed yet.