Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks went a bit off the board tonight, picking German forward Lukas Reichel at No. 17 in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Reichel is a 6 feet and 172 pounds and plays with Eisbären Berlin of the German DEL last season, scoring 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 42 games. If the name sounds familiar, that is because his uncle is former Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs center Robert Reichel. His father is former DEL star center Martin Reichel.
These are a few scouting reports on the young Blackhawks first rounder:
“Reichel is a pro-ready player and the maturity in his game shows. A very good skater, he is a treat to watch gliding all over the ice with a fast top speed as well as very solid mobility. Smooth overall skater who relies on his solid skating techniques with very fluid strides. Possesses silk-smooth hands and can handle the puck very nicely, constantly putting the effort in to get to the tough parts of the ice and battle for puck possession. He displays great hockey sense and he always seems to be in the right place, getting to where he needs to be just slightly ahead of the play. He is strong along the boards, often coming out with the puck because of his excellent puck skills and tenacity. Didn’t find himself overwhelmed in this regard when faced with older, stronger, competition. He can use his quickness in small spaces to evade opposing players and find open space for himself. He has a good shot, and it is more effective because of the shot locations that he finds. If he isn’t getting himself to the front of the net, he is camping out on the backside of the play, waiting for a pass to one-time into the back of the net. In the defensive zone, he plays a solid positional game and clogs passing lanes, not afraid to get in front of a shot. His excellent board play aids him in puck battles but he needs to try to stay on the inside of the puck in defensive zone so he doesn’t get turned around as frequently. Overall, a smart playmaker with high compete level.”
— FC Hockey
Reichel also excels down low and when working the half wall as his agility is excellent, which makes him tough to pin. His board work has been outstanding, and he shows no worries in using his body to protect the puck, holding his own against extreme physical pressure from men despite his relatively light weight. The question is, does Reichel possess the upside to be more than a complementary middle six forward? His skill level is good but not elite. The same could be said for his speed and functional success in transition. It is for this reason that we have Reichel ranked below Stűtzle and Peterka because their respective upsides are higher.”
— Brock Otten (McKeens)