The 2020 NHL Draft will be October 6 & 7, conducted remotely. The Calgary Flames have a first round selection and will pick 19th overall. In advance of the draft, we’ll be looking at some contenders to be selected at 19th.
Lukas Reichel is another top prospect to come out of Germany, following the likes of Moritz Seider, Dominik Bokk, Leon Draisaitl, and fellow 2020-eligible players Tim Stützle and John-Jason Peterka. Let’s take a closer look at this left-handed left-winger.
The name Reichel rings a bell, doesn’t it? Lukas’ dad, Martin Reichel, was a second round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1992 and spent 18 years in Germany’s top league, the DEL. But you probably know a lot more about Lukas’ uncle Robert, who spent six years with the Flames in the early 1990s after being drafted by the team in the fourth round in 1989. Robert Reichel’s most famous moment came against Team Canada when he donned the uniform of the Czech Republic and scored the shootout winner against Patrick Roy in the semi-finals of the 1998 Olympics.
Lukas Reichel, however, was born in Germany during his father’s long tenure with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers of the DEL. His draft stock has skyrocketed over the last year after he made his DEL debut with the Berlin Polar Bears in 2019–20. He’s tall but slender at 6′ and 172 pounds, giving him the frame to compete and fill out against men in a pro league but also the agility to break free from defenders.
Reichel is an aggressive forechecker who attacks defenders with his great speed and wins puck battles almost every time. He’s not a physically dominant presence, but he has great positional instincts at both ends of the ice. His smarts, his dangerous wrist shot, and his stickwork are his hallmarks, the latter of which allows his coaches in Nuremberg to rely on him in shootouts. Reichel played a key role on the German team at the U20 World Junior Championships in December, posting 3 goals and 5 points in 7 games.
Steve Kournianos was very complimentary of Reichel’s hockey IQ in his profile over at The Draft Analyst:
Being a smart and alert player seems to come naturally for Reichel, and the fact that his coach has used him in late/close situations supports that. Loose pucks find his stick with regularity, especially within proximity of board battles. He also wields an active stick and turns quickly which often forces opposing defenders in the grey zone to cough up pucks or make a rushed decision. Although he wasn’t a regular on the penalty kill, Reichel has the smarts, foot speed, and stamina to be groomed for checking scenarios. Once he has the puck, Reichel is consistent in locating the right targets and connecting with accuracy. He keeps his head up and will even look off the goal area and thread the needle to the backdoor or opposite circle.
Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino had this cautious assessment of Reichel in his March draft rankings:
At this point, there’s plenty of offensive upside, but less certainty about play away from the puck and attention to detail in the defensive zone.
And Dayton Reimer of The Hockey Writers said this of Reichel’s dangerous shot:
Although slightly undersized, Reichel has proven himself invaluable to the Eisbären through his goal-scoring ability. This season, he has a 17.14 shooting percentage, which is among the top-20 highest percentages league-wide, as well as four power play goals and four game-winning goals. He’s managed to accomplish this with just under an average of 13 minutes a night and while bouncing between the second and third lines.
Reichel undoubtedly has great offensive attributes. He has a lethal shot, he can dazzle with the puck, and his speed allows him to create all sorts of space for himself and his linemates.
Reichel posted 12 goals and 24 points in 42 games with the DEL’s Berlin Polar Bears this season, leading all U20 players in goals and finishing second behind Mannheim’s Tim Stützle in points. His five points at the World Juniors ranked in a tie (with Stützle) for fourth on his German team, only behind Hurricanes prospect Dominik Bokk, fellow 2020-eligible forward John-Jason Peterka, and Red Wings blue-chipper Moritz Seider.
Reichel was a fixture in the middle-six for Berlin and also performed admirably on the team’s second power play unit, contributing four goals, the third-most on the team.
Availability and fit
After selecting Jakob Pelletier and Matthew Tkachuk with two of their last three first round picks, the Flames are reasonably set for smart left-handed wingers. But they could always use more skilled scorers and Reichel would immediately become one of the Flames’ few forward prospects who exceed 6′.
Generally speaking, Reichel is perceived as the third-best of the trio of top German prospects in the 2020 draft. Mannheim’s Stützle is expected to be taken in the top five, while the consensus opinion of Munchen’s Peterka puts him slightly above Reichel in the first round.
Bob McKenzie is a big fan of Reichel’s, putting him at 20th on his final draft rankings—one slot behind where Calgary is scheduled to pick. But other scouts are less sold. Dobber Prospects has Reichel all the way down at 49th. He’s 38th on the McKeen’s list, 33rd on Craig Button and FC Hockey’s lists, and 31st on ISS’ list. Reichel would be a bit of a surprise to be picked at 19, but it’s hard to imagine anyone with strong production in a top men’s league and NHL bloodlines sliding very far.