(Editor’s Note: This is the seventh installment in Chicago Hockey Now’s Blackhawks of Tomorrow series about Chicago Blackhawks prospects. Today we look at forward Lukas Reichel).
This is a unique look at the Blackhawks of Tomorrow because it involves Reichel, who spent 23 games in Chicago this season and 11 last year. However, the majority of his time was in Rockford and for that purpose, he’s a prospect as close to graduation as one can get.
The Blackhawks took Reichel 17th overall in 2020, a result of the pandemic restructuring the playoffs. The Blackhawks won their play-in round and ended up picking lower. Regardless, Reichel has been good so far for Chicago.
In 23 games this season with the big club, Reichel had 15 points (7-8). Head coach Luke Richardson was careful with his deployment, but eased him into more minutes during his stretch in March. In his short four-game stay which was a contest in December and three in January, Reichel notched three points, all of those coming against Calgary on January 8. Reichel scored his first career goal during that game as well.
Starting March 2, Reichel would have 12 points in those final 19 games. In his final eight games, he was playing at point-per-game rate with an even split of four goals and assists.
So far, so good. Like everything, there’s often a but.
It’s going to become like a broken record on the this site but when it comes to prospects getting the full time call, there’s a learning curve. Often, too, the sophomore season sees a dip from the rookie campaign. For Reichel, he’s had brief stints with 11 in 2021-22 and then the 23 games this last year. His production was good for the small sample size this season. But when the long grind of an 82-game season comes on, it’s a whole new beast.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 8, 2022
In Rockford, he played at practically a point-per-game and now, and spending any long stretches of time there wouldn’t make sense. The time is now for Reichel to make the full time jump. But as with the rebuild itself, patience will be the key for both the prospect and the fanbase. He has tremendous skill, and has showcased it often at the AHL level. It’ll be present at the NHL level, too.
But it could be slow out of the gate or have stretches with low production. Like the rebuild, it may take some time. It’s a luxury Chicago has.
Blackhawks fans should be happy with what Reichel will become as a player–if the trajectory indeed continues as it has so far.
If it does, Reichel could be another big piece of the rebuild foundation.