Second City Hockey’s 2020-21 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2020. The rankings are determined by a composite score from three SCH writers and community member, L_B_R. 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.
Lukas Reichel was a bit of an unheralded name when Chicago selected him 17th overall in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. The German teenager appeared to have left a major impact on the Blackhawks — including general manager Stan Bowman — when Reichel’s Eisbaren Berlin team faced the Blackhawks in an exhibition game before the start of the 2019-20 NHL season.
Bowman on Lukas Reichel: "I just remember noticing his speed and how fluid he was on the ice" in the Berlin exhibition.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 8, 2020
Went back in late January and watched him in person again. "It was a pretty impressive progression, just for those couple months."
As a speedy, playmaking forward, Reichel amassed 24 points in 42 games as a 17-year-old playing against full-grown men in the German DEL. In a brief sample size of playing against athletes his age, Reichel tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games for Germany during the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Many of the scouting reports offered glowing reviews of Reichel, including this one from Elite Prospects:
“He’s an unrelenting forechecker and backchecker, never gives up on a play, and wins battles through second efforts. Reichel is a pretty capable puck-handler too, even at top-speed carrying the puck through a defender’s triangle, showing a predilection for outside-in maneuvers, and deploying weight shifts to avoid contact.”
The main knocks against Reichel are his limited size and strength, two areas that can see significant improvement over the next few years with the combination of physical maturation and frequent trips to the weight room.
Reichel will remain overseas for the ‘20-21 hockey season, again playing with Eisbaren Berlin of the DEL. That league was initially slated to begin on Nov. 13, but that start date has been pushed back to Dec. 17 due to the ongoing pandemic.