ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– The Blackhawks need to produce impact players if they want to become a force again in the NHL. They might have one here in Rockford with the IceHogs in Lukas Reichel.
The intrigue surrounding Reichel has been there since the summer of 2020 when the Blackhawks used a first-round draft pick on him. The excitement surrounding Reichel’s potential has been building in recent weeks with how he’s been performing for the IceHogs.
This past weekend the IceHogs exploded on the offensive end scoring 14 goals in two games. Reichel led the way with three goals and three assists. Because of that effort he was named the AHL’s Player of the Week.
“It’s an honor for me and it’s not just me,” said Reichel. “I think it’s the whole team that stepped up, my linemates did a really good job, and, yea, I’m thankful and I just want to keep going.”
Reichel was out with a concussion for a couple weeks at the end of November through mid-December, but when he’s been on the ice he’s been outstanding. In 20 games he has produced 20 points. He’s tied for eighth among rookies in the AHL in scoring, and he’s third among all rookies in goals with 11.
“The abilities he’s got are lights out,” said IceHogs interim head coach Anders Sorensen.
Because of COVID, IceHogs players have constantly been getting pulled up to Chicago either to the Blackhawks active roster or to their taxi squad. Reichel has yet to get promoted to either one. If there’s any hesitation on the Blackhawks part, it’s because Reichel is only 19. He’s not due to turn 20 until the middle of May.
“We’ve got to remember he’s a young man still 19 years old,” said Sorensen. “I think you know when you’re at that age there’s a lot of things (to deal with), he’s coming from Germany. There’s a lot of things in North America that’s off the ice (different), and on the ice a different game, so just learning to be a pro every day.”
Patience is another one of Reichel’s strengths. He’s not antsy about getting a call-up.
“I just like, have fun. If they call me up, I will be ready if it’s now or soon or I don’t know, never, so I will be ready whenever it’s the time.”
It won’t be never, that’s for sure. Not with the strides Reichel is making. It’s no surprise the improvement in his game. He works at it.
“I’ve watched video of a lot of guys like Kane and Panarin, those guys, and yea I just want to learn from that.”