An impressive season overseas has raised expectations for the Blackhawks’ 2020 first-round pick.
Second City Hockey’s 2021-22 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2021. The rankings are determined by a composite score from all four SCH writers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.
It’s hard to find anything negative to say about Lukas Reichel’s 2020-21 hockey season.
While playing in Germany’s DEL as an EIGHTEEN-year-old, Reichel scored 10 goals with 17 assists in 38 regular-season games then tallied five points in nine playoff games as Eisbären won the 2021 DEL title. Reichel was the No. 1 center during portions of the regular season and the entire postseason, proving his versatility after being billed as a winger when Chicago made him its first-round pick in 2020. Reichel also played in nine games with Team Germany during the 2021 IIHF World Championship, tallying two goals and four assists.
Team president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman had nothing but positive things as all aboard the Reichel hype train after the Blackhawks signed him to an entry-level deal in June:
“Lukas made tremendous strides in his second year as a professional. The game appeared to slow down for him this past season, which allowed his play-making skills to be on full display. Bringing him over to North America is the logical next step for his continued development and we’re excited to be able to add such a young, dynamic player to our forward group.” – Bowman
While Reichel is listed at 170 pounds at the Hawks website (which is the figure used for this article), he told Scott Powers of The Athletic last month that he’s up to “83-84 kilograms,” which translates to the 182-185 pound range — a noticeable increase from 170 and indicative of his continued growth because he is still a teenager, after all. That article also mentions that Reichel arrived in Chicago early to get acclimated to life in the massive city and to get acquainted with his new teammates.
Reichel’s performance will be one of the bigger storylines to follow during September’s training camp. He is eligible to play in the AHL and appears destined to at least start the ‘21-22 season with the IceHogs, but a stellar camp could thrust Reichel into the Blackhawks lineup. Chicago does have a slew of forwards but few of them project as a top-six talent like Reichel does. The combination of Reichel’s high-end talent and versatility to potentially be a center or a wing raises the possibility that he’ll with the Blackhawks at some point during the ‘21-22 season.