Lukas Reichel Gets Another Chance To Prove He Belongs On The Chicago Blackhawks

The Hawks recalled the talented forward from Rockford after he was initially demoted to the IceHogs because of his struggles at the NHL.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Lukas Reichel was one of the Chicago Blackhawks' top prospects that everyone forgot about the moment the team drafted Connor Bedard. He played like he was forgotten as he struggled mightily during his first full NHL season.

Reichel's struggles got to the point that the organization had no choice but to demote him to their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, in mid-February.

The hope was Lukas would find his confidence in a league where he scored 41 goals and passed out 67 assists over two seasons before getting his first real shot to stick with the Blackhawks this season.

However, Reichel revealed he was not happy with the demotion. Thankfully, he got over it as Reichel skated in nine games for the IceHogs where he scored a goal and dished out six assists.

Now he is back with the big club as the Hawks recalled him on Friday. He was scratched before the loss to the Kings, but Lukas is set to be on the third line for Sunday's matchup.

He will be paired with veterans Nick Foligno and Andreas Athanasiou. Reichel might work out this time around as Athanasiou and him had some chemistry together last year.

Reichel had seven of his even-strength 12 points last season when he was skating with Athanasiou. The Hawks wanted Reichel to be the second-line center this season with Athanasiou on the wing. Reichel struggled and Athanasiou got hurt and that plan was scrapped.

In 23 games last season, Reichel flashed his immense offensive potential with seven goals and eight assists. He was playing so well that he got demoted with the conspiracy theory that he was ruining the tank season.

Reichel just did not produce in 50 games this season despite being one of the more talented players on the roster after Bedard. He has just three goals and seven assists. He has not scored a goal since December and has not registered the primary assist since January.

Reichel feels like his confidence is back and skating with Athanasiou might be just what he needs to finish strong.

This time around Reichel will move to wing while Athanasiou centers the line.

Head coach Luke Richardson likes how Reichel and Athanasiou think and play a similar style of hockey. Now that Athanasiou is back from injured reserve, the Hawks had another reason to bring back Reichel.

Athanasiou missed 54 games with a groin injury. He has two assists over the two games he has played in since his return.

Hopefully, this is the recipe that gets Reichel going.

He will play with a veteran who can fly around on the ice in Athanasiou. Foligno is willing to get to the front of the net and chase down loose pucks.

That should allow Reichel to focus on scoring goals and if he does not have a shot, set up Athanasiou on his way towards the net. He could put something towards the net for Foligno to redirect.

Plus, Foligno has done a great job mentoring Bedard. Maybe now being on the same line, Foligno can do the same for Reichel.

Bedard has no more excuses. He has to show he belongs in the NHL and is not a bust.