While Lukas Reichel is receiving his first taste of North American ice hockey this season, he won’t be doing it with the Chicago Blackhawks — at least not yet.
Reichel, who was Chicago’s first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft, was one of nine players assigned to the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday afternoon, meaning that Reichel will likely start the 2021-22 hockey season in the AHL.
As mentioned on the most recent episode of Musings on Madison, Reichel had been rather quiet in his brief NHL preseason time, removing any surprise from this announcement. In two preseason games, Reichel skated 31:53 — including 5:01 on the power play — without tallying a point and was credited with one shot on goal in each game. Those low numbers are indicative of Reichel’s overall contributions during those two games but should do nothing to dampen any optimism around the 19-year-old forward following his impressive ‘19-20 hockey season. Should he fare well in Rockford, there will be plenty of opportunities for Reichel to earn an NHL promotion over the next six months.
Five other forwards will join Reichel on the trip to Rockford: Andrei Altybarmakian, Brett Connolly, Jakub Pour, Josiah Slavin and Michal Teply. Connolly, who was placed on waivers Tuesday by the Blackhawks, was cleared on Wednesday to make way for this roster move.
A trio of defensemen were also assigned to the IceHogs on Wednesday afternoon: Louis Crevier, Michael Krutil and Isaak Phillips. All three were 2020 draft picks of the Hawks, with Krutil picked in the fourth round (110th overall), Phillips in the fifth (141st) and Crevier in the seventh (188th).
Rockford’s season begins next Friday, Oct. 15 against the Grand Rapids Griffins. It’s a six-game road trip to open the season for the IceHogs before the home opener on Saturday, Nov. 6 — also against the Griffins.