Blackhawks assign Lukas Reichel to AHL's Rockford IceHogs amid year-long slump

Blackhawks assign Lukas Reichel to AHL's Rockford IceHogs amid year-long slump originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks have assigned forward Lukas Reichel to the Rockford IceHogs, the team announced on Sunday morning.

Reichel, 21, has been a healthy scratch for the last two games after his year-long slump continued post-bye week and All-Star break. He's been a healthy scratch five times altogether this season.

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson recently talked about the possibility of sending Reichel to Rockford and wanting to see more "competitiveness" from him.

"It is a tool for sure and I’m sure that can be something that we’ll exercise if we need," Richardson said. "But we’ve been so banged up, I don’t think we could’ve really up until this point. Maybe that is an option going forward, just to help someone get out of the rut.

"Sometimes it’s a little bit of an instant blow to someone’s confidence. Their personality feels like it’s taken a hit, like they're embarrassed a little bit that they didn’t succeed. But the reason of using that tool is to succeed. It has done well for him in the past, so it could be something we look at in the future."

Reichel has never quite looked like himself this season. He has only 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 50 games with the Blackhawks this season and was on pace to finish with just 16 points. For reference, he had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 23 games with the Blackhawks last season.

The decision to send him back to Rockford felt inevitable for the Blackhawks, who had exhausted every option to this point. It was probably the last resort, so let's see how Reichel responds.

"We realize when players are down on themselves and we don't want to pile on but it's the NHL," Richardson said on Feb. 14. "We have to somehow push them to get over that, and a lot of that's internally with the player. We can only do so much and show them so much from video corrections or good stuff to try and get them feeling good about their game."

Anthony Beauvillier has been out of the lineup since Jan. 2 with a wrist injury, and he could return to action as soon as Monday in Carolina. The Reichel assignment opens up a roster spot for Beauvillier.

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