The Journey of Lukas Reichel as a Chicago Blackhawk

Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Without typing another word on his play, let's review how it must have looked from Lukas Reichel's development view. As an 18 year old perceived 30-40 range selected prospect playing in the DEL to being drafted 15-25 spots higher than expected to the team he follows that has a handful of the prior dynasty team still on the roster.... That must have been alot to take in as a teenager.

Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews
The NHL 100 presented by GEICO - Show / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

To pile onto that crucial development time, the General Manager and leadership group that drafted him would be let go. The team would go through multiple coaching changes and searches at all levels as well. All this, while trying to increase your proficiency in a second language and moving half way around the world away from your family.

Despite these complications, Reichel put up 108 points in 111 games in Rockford (regular season) as a young forward. They played him at center which was likely a decision based on skill amongst the forward group (he was switched from wing to center in the DEL as well) though the prognosis amongst many was that as a draft eligible Lukas Reichel was going to be an NHL LW / RW.

From everything on the ice (from another year in the DEL, to international competitions, to AHL play, to an end of season stint with the Blackhawks) the 2023-2024 season for Lukas Reichel was going to be a big step in solidifying himself as a top 6 NHL forward.

So far Lukas Reichel has played 44 games for the Blakhawks this season and produced just 9 points (3g, 6a) for the 31st ranked team in the league. That doesn't tell the whole story of course, but it does equate to a dissconnect (as eluded to in the prior pages) in his progression at some point. Thus far, Reichel has been a healthy scratch, been on the top line, and even a 4th liner with just over 10 minutes of TOI (time on ice) in games that saw the team regularly place AHL veterans or experienced bottom 6 NHL players in prominent offensive roles.

Lukas Reichel
Chicago Blackhawks v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Head coach Luke Richardson is in his corner though, constantly giving the young player a vote of confidence and offering positive speak about his ability both in the media and presumably in private. We here at Blackhawk Up, as many fans have as well, see the flashes of play. A stick lift back check steal, a velocity saucer pass in tight coverage to a streaking Hawk, or a speed rush without numbers to keep possession and gain quality attempts. The skill and ability is clearly there, we all see (although inconsistently this season) this.

So what may be the issue? Why can't Lukas Reichel breakthough into a top 6 permanent role on THIS team that is without most of their highly skilled players? It may be as simple as that it is actually "many things".

From coming to a new country and language, to seeing your draft position now carry loftier expectations than were anticipated, to having your new team in the media for the wrong reasons constantly, to then having all of your future teammates (future Hall of Famers at that) move on before you can truly even arrive long enough to rent an apartment.... No Lukas Reichel hasn't played well this year, but the skill is there and he is just 21 years old. The team is in a rebuild and that will take time, the time we should all be affording Lukas Reichel at this moment.

Maybe instead of constantly thinking about what's wrong with Lukas Reichel's play, let's start asking what's gone wrong with everything around him since he was drafted.

Lukas Reichel, MacKenzie Entwistle
Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Better days are ahead for #27, from his play on the ice, to the health of the team, to the W's in the win column. Time is on the Blackhawks side afterall...