Blackhawks' Lukas Reichel continues to make strides in longest NHL stint to date

Reichel continues to make strides in longest NHL stint to date originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Lukas Reichel has been called up to the NHL six times in his career. The first five were pretty short stints. The sixth, however, has been the longest, by far.

On Thursday, Reichel appeared in his 15th consecutive game since being recalled by the Blackhawks the day before the trade deadline. He's had some highs and some lows, but it's generally been the former.

Scroll to continue with content

"A short time last year with him, but from last year to this year, he has taken a big step," Taylor Raddysh said. "Just his speed, he's really fast and he can make plays with it. He's a smart player, as well. It's pretty cool to watch and see."

In those 15 games, Reichel has four goals and three assists for seven points. He's also averaging 17:05 of ice time, which ranks third among forwards on the team over that stretch.

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson has been encouraged by the progression of Reichel, who appears to be a quick learner. He was flying in Thursday's 5-3 loss to St. Louis, recording an assist and nearly scoring the game-tying goal in the final minutes of regulation.

"He had a good game," Richardson said. "He’s still learning. He saw some clips today about looking when to strike and when not to strike and I can see that already, just one day of showing clips. He hasn’t had a lot of practice time with us this year."


Part of the growing pains is learning what you can and can't get away with at the NHL level. It's also understanding that sometimes it's OK if nothing happens on a shift.

"There’s been a couple of places where he just has to understand where he doesn’t need to make something happen there," Richardson said before Thursday's game. "Just make the safe play and if you don’t get scored against and don’t give up a scoring chance, that’s a win in this league.

"You’re not going to get a scoring chance every shift, so if you make the right plays all game and when the time is right you strike and let’s say you’re a +3 on the scoring chances for and against when you’re on the ice, I think that’s a huge win for an offensive player. They have to learn as a young player, certain nights, you might have to work all night and get your chance late in the third period but you didn’t give up anything and I think that’s good.

"If you start forcing the issue and you give up three chances trying to get one, that’s not really a good equation for a guy who’s learning in this league."


When Reichel was on the ice at even strength against the Blues, the Blackhawks held a 10-5 advantage in the scoring chance department, per Natural Stat Trick. That's a positive response from the previous game against Dallas when the scoring chance differential was even with Reichel on the ice, which also isn't the worst thing.

Every game Reichel plays in the NHL is valuable for him at this point. Just think about what he might look like next season and beyond with a stronger supporting cast and more experience.

"When he gets full-time here and lots of practice and a whole training camp, I think if he can stay on the same track of learning when to be explosive offensively and when to be a little bit, not cautious but smarter in the game where he doesn’t have to force something and turn it over until we’re down to a 6-on-5 at the end," Richardson said. "That’s when we have to force. He made all the right moves tonight. The longer he’s here and the more he understands that, the better he’ll get."

Echoed Raddysh: "He's been really good. He's a fast player and can make a lot of plays. Since he's been up here, he's been really flying around and playing well. It's awesome to see. He's a great kid and it's nice to see him play with some confidence up here."

Click here to subscribe to the Blackhawks Talk Podcast for free.


Download MyTeams Today!