Chicago Blackhawks Player Grades: Diving into Lukas Reichel's subpar season

Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators
Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages
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As training camp started for the Blackhawks, many were interested to see which line combinations would be seen the most leading up to opening night. Lukas Reichel's successful run last season saw him build chemistry as a left-winger alongside Andreas Athanasiou and Philipp Kurashev. Considering Reichel's frame of six feet tall and 170 pounds, the belief was that he would be a better fit as a winger in the NHL.

However, Reichel began training camp as a center and stayed there through the early goings of the NHL season. After primarily playing center in Rockford, the Blackhawks coaching staff wanted to see if he was an option to play the position at a higher level. This experiment showed a different side to Reichel's game that had not yet been seen by him. The responsibility a center holds in the defensive zone made Reichel play overly cautious and not as much involved in the scoring, which was his strong suit.

Reichel was eventually moved back to the wing as the Blackhawks tried different line combinations to help the young forward find his scoring. He was given the chance at times to play alongside Bedard, but these opportunities were short lived and not given a more extended look. This led to Reichel falling into the bottom-six where his strong games were few and far between.

With the lack of results piling on, Reichel would begin spending games in the press-box as a healthy scratch in order to ignite the flame that he showed last season. This ultimately led to Reichel being sent back to Rockford for 10 games to build his confidence back up, which saw him tally 8 points in 10 games.

Once Reichel was re-called to the Blackhawks for the end of the season, he looked closer to his old self. He looked more involved in plays and began showing strong forechecking and playmaking once again. While the results were not perfect, and at times inconsistent, the end of Reichel's season was a step in the right direction. He finished the season with 16 points in 65 games played.