Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Lukas Reichel.
Its been a banner year for German hockey. Leon Draisaitl is leading the NHL in scoring. Moritz Seider was picked sixth overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. The cherry-on-top of the sundae is the potential for three players to be taken in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Tim Stutzle and John-Jason Peterka are good bets to go in the first round, while Lukas Reichel could join them.
Reichel is the son of former Edmonton Oilers draftee Martin Reichel and the nephew of long-time NHLer Robert Reichel. Reichel spent this season with the Berlin Polar Bears in the DEL, Germany’s top men’s league. He scored 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 42 games. He also played for Germany at the World Juniors, putting up five points in seven tournament games.
Last year, Reichel scored five points in five games at the 2019 IIHF Under 18 (A-Division). This helped the German team win the tournament and advance to the World Group this year. Unfortunately, the global Covid-19 pandemic has meant that Reichel and the other strong German group didn’t get the opportunity to play in this year’s tournament.
Lukas Reichel Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born May 17th, 2002 — Nuernberg, Germany
Height 6’0″ — Weight 170 lbs [183 cm / 77 kg]
Reichel is a very good skater. He shows good speed and power in his stride. His explosive first step and good acceleration make him dangerous off the rush. He also has very good agility and edgework, allowing him to make quick cuts and get away from defenders both with and without the puck. Reichel’s skating makes him tough to contain in one-on-one situations. He also has a very strong lower body for his age. He can fight through checks and get to the dirty areas of the ice. Reichel has very good balance. It is tough to knock him off the puck. He could stand to build up a stronger upper-body though, as this will help him to also win battles for loose pucks.
Reichel scores the majority of his goals in tight to the net. He has quick hands and can deke a goalie in tight, or get the puck up quickly into a tight area. He also can bang in a rebound, quickly one-time a pass, or deflect in a teammate’s shot. From further out, his wrist shot is very accurate and features a good release. Reichel’s quick hands allow him to toe-drag and quickly change the angle before shooting. His shot also has decent power. This is also true of his one-timer. He gets it off effectively but still has room to add a bit more velocity. As he gets stronger, this may help his game.
Reichel can also play the role of a playmaker. His strong possession skills help him to control the puck down low and extend plays. This can help him to set up teammates for scoring chances once they get open. Reichel combines his skating ability with his quick hands, and if a defender gives him a little too much room, he can make a quick move and drive the puck to the net. His soft hands can also lead to a quick dangle and then a pass to a teammate. He is also effective as a forechecker, pressuring defenders and forcing them to make mistakes. Once they do, he can quickly take advantage with excellent vision and a knack for knowing where his linemates will be.
Reichel’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. He needs to be more consistent in keeping his feet moving in the defensive zone. Reichel has a tendency to be caught flat-footed at times which lets his man get away from him and be open for a pass. There are other times where he supports the defence down low and applies effective backpressure against the rush. Other times he can leave the defensive zone early, looking for the long stretch pass to create something in the transition game. Reichel is a smart enough player in the offensive end, that he should be able to play better defensively once he matures and is coached effectively on his responsibilities.
Projection and Comparison
Reichel has the skills to develop into a top-six winger at the NHL level. He will need some time to continue to develop though. Putting muscle on his frame and rounding out his defensive game are the main concerns right now. He will likely play another season in Europe next year, and be a huge part of the German team at the World Juniors. It will be intriguing to see how far the three young guns could take that team next year. Reichel’s game is reminiscent of Mike Hoffman, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Lukas Reichel that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Lukas Reichel Main Photo:
AUGSBURG, GERMANY – OCTOBER 04: Lukas Reichel of Eisbaeren Berlin controls the ball during the DEL match between Augsburger Panther and Eisbaeren Berlin at Curt-Frenzel-Stadion on October 4, 2019 in Augsburg, Germany.(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)