Does Lukas Reichel's 9 Games in Rockford Preview the Blackhawks' Development Plan?

Perhaps, perhaps not
Chicago Blackhawks v Calgary Flames
Chicago Blackhawks v Calgary Flames / Derek Leung/GettyImages

After a successful 9 games in Rockford (7 points with 1 goal and 6 assists in that time) Lukas Reichel played his first game with the Blackhawks in over a month last night. In just above 13 minutes on the ice, Reichel would notch an assist in just 15 shifts against the Sharks, Still, he looked engaged, physical, and fast in his return to the United Center.

Rockford also enjoyed their visit from their one time top line player as they climbed out from under a sub .500 record to jump ahead of the Texas Stars for 3rd place in the Central Division. While the Icehogs still have work to do, it was a needed bump in order to gain traction should there be any post season play.

Question is now; Is this the path for all highly touted draft picks or was this just a "Lukas Reichel trajectory"? The answer could certainly be both. Yes in the fact that Rockford is a competitive team close to Chicago that can give young players extra playing time in more predominant roles and no in the fact that if a player such as say Frank Nazar comes into the NHL and earns a top 6 spot that he wouldn't need time at a lower level.

While it seems to be working for Reichel (and there is a comfort there obviously), it's not to say the futures of Frank Nazar, Oliver Moore, Sam Rinzel, or any other future prospect are tied to this line of development. The path of say, "well he's struggled in 30-50 games so send him to Rockford" may invoke confidence in a 21 year old Lukas Reichel, however may feel differently to others.

Still, it's a positive sign to see that this option of developing players is a viable recourse moving forward. So far so good for Lukas Reichel at least. The Blackhawks next play Tuesday evening at 10:00 PM EDT against the Los Angeles Kings.

Lukas Reichel
Calgary Flames v Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages