As the Chicago Blackhawks head into the 2023-24 season, they have a loaded pipeline of prospects. Where it gets difficult, is determining exactly where they are on their journey and how that plays into their ranking.
Instead of writing a longer 2000+ word piece, CHN has opted to write ten shorter pieces that lays out the reasoning for the spot in their respective ranking. Believe me, looking at the list it’s not a simple notion outside of #1, which is a slam dunk. Essentially, the considerations with rankings worked like this:
- Where is this current prospect in their readiness with the Blackhawks? A Lukas Reichel is much closer compared to a Gavin Hayes.
- How does the current prospect rank out in terms of their ceiling as opposed to other prospects on the list?
- How has the prospect performed within their respective league–and how does that league rank out against others?
Reichel Will Graduate From the Prospect Pool This Season
Reichel is in an interesting spot as he’s already collected NHL time with the Blackhawks. He appeared in 23 games last season and potted his first NHL goal last January. Though he has 33 games in that career, it’s not even a halfway marker of a season. With general manager Kyle Davidson opening up spots for the younger players to start their way to Chicago, the time is right for Reichel to stake his claim this season.
Lukas Reichel has 13 (6G, 7A) points in 21 NHL games this season. Over an 82 game pace that would be good for 23 goals, 27 assists and 50 points. Reichel also leads the #Blackhawks in 5v5 goals/60 (1.08) and 5v5 points/60 (1.94) this year. Beating out Patrick Kane and Max Domi. pic.twitter.com/KI60cWJ6uN
— Chicago Prospects (@Chi_Prospects) April 5, 2023
Blackhawks ETA: 2023-24
Reichel’s spot at #2 is bolstered by the fact that outside of Bedard, he’s a sure bet to be on the team this season and is NHL ready. His ceiling likely hasn’t been reached. He was just eight points shy of being a point-per-game last season on a team designed to not exactly set the hockey world on fire. With a full season, and potentially the chance to be on a line with Bedard, it’s fair to assume that Reichel’s opportunity to match if not exceed last year’s pace is certainly there.
Reichel will likely shift between wing and center, with the majority of his time being at left wing. But one man who would know, Rockford head coach Anders Sorensen, believes Chicago is getting a kid ready for whatever they ask of him.
“He’s got a great work ethic but he’s finally starting to put it all together,” Sorensen said at development camp. “I think the sky’s the limit. I think he’s a great kid, he’s a great off-the-rush player, he’s a super smart player, and he’s super coachable.”
As for where he’ll end up, Davidson will let the coaching staff and preseason help determine some of that.
“We’re likely going to give some of the young players a shot down the middle and a good, true opportunity to find center as their position,” Davidson said. “We’ll try that out in training camp and early on in the season. But if things don’t work out, or if there’s a better opportunity on the wing for some of those players, then there are some veterans that can slot over. They’re versatile to jump down the middle.”
Regardless, Reichel won’t be on this list next season and for good reason. He’s sits at #2 because of the assuredness of him being with the Blackhawks full time, but also because of his versatility and ceiling.
Reichel could very well be one of the building blocks for the Blackhawks future.