Blackhawks select forward Reichel with No. 17 overall pick
Lukas Reichel's favorite player growing up was Patrick Kane.
And his favorite team? The Blackhawks, of course.
So when Reichel found out he was selected by the Hawks 17th overall during the first round of the NHL draft Tuesday, you probably could have knocked him over with a feather.
"My whole family is here in the restaurant -- and my whole team is here," Reichel said from Berlin while on a Zoom call with reporters. "It was unreal moment. I can't believe it right now."
Reichel, a 6-foot, 180-pound winger, had 12 goals and 12 assists in 42 games for Eisbaren Berlin of the German DEL league last season.
Incredibly, Reichel played against the Hawks in a preseason game before Kane and Co. opened the 2019-20 campaign against Philadelphia in Prague.
"The game against Chicago was unreal for me," Reichel said. "To play against the top stars like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, it was a great experience."
Reichel is said to be a good two-way player, something GM Stan Bowman covets. Toews, Marian Hossa and Kirby Dach all come to mind as players who fit that mold.
"I'm not the biggest guy, not the strongest guy on the ice," Reichel said. "But I'm a smart guy, I'm a good skater, I like to shoot. That's my game."
Said Mark Kelley, the Hawks Vice President of Amateur Scouting: "His body is still gonna mature. The thing that stands out in his game is the hockey IQ, his ability to make plays."
Kelley believes Reichel can develop into a top-six forward who could play on a line with players like Kane, Dach and Alex DeBrincat.
Reichel's father, Martin, is in the German Hockey Hall of Fame and was taken 37th overall by the Oilers in 1992. He played 20 seasons of pro hockey in Germany. Lukas' uncle, Robert Reichel, skated in 830 NHL games and won a gold medal for the Czech Republic at the 1998 Winter Olympics.
As for when Lukas may be eating up NHL competition? He's penciling in the 2021-22 season.
And the fact that he could be on the same team as Kane?
"When I was younger my favorite player was Patrick Kane and my favorite team was always Chicago," Reichel said. "And now I'm a Blackhawk too. That's so awesome."
Mark Kelley said the Hawks spoke with Winnipeg (No. 10), Nashville (11) and Florida (12) about moving up, but nothing came of it.
"The teams really weren't very receptive to trading back," Kelley said. "So we just kind of played it out and we had to sweat out probably four names."
Nashville ended up taking Yaroslav Askarov, the top goalie in the draft. The 6-foot-3 netminder may not be in the NHL for 2-3 years, but he drew comparisons to Martin Brodeur, who won 688 games and led the Devils to three Stanley Cups.
To no one's surprise, forward Alexis Lafreniere went No. 1 overall to the Rangers. The 6-foot-1 Canadian was the CHL Player of the Year and the QMJHL MVP the last two years. He's the first back-to-back winners of both since Sidney Crosby. The Rangers drafted Kappo Kakko at No. 2 and added Artemi Panarin in free agency last year. This is a team that's clearly on the rise.
The Kings selected 6-foot-4 forward Quinton Byfield at No. 2. NBCSN compared Byfield to Anze Kopitar.
The Hawks are set to make six picks in Rounds 2-7 on Wednesday. The first three are 46th, 79th and 81st overall (although the 81st pick could move up to No. 76). The draft is slated to begin at 10:30 a.m.
Hawks first-round picks last decade2019 Forward Kirby Dach, third. Stats: 8 goals, 15 assists in 64 games
2018 Defenseman Adam Boqvist, eighth. Stats: 4G, 9A in 41 GP
D Nicolas Beaudin, 27th. Stats: 1 GP
2017D Henri Jokiharju, 29th. Stats: 4G, 23A in 107 GP. (Now w/Sabres)
2014F Nick Schmaltz, 20th. Stats: 45G, 105A in 249 GP. (Now w/Coyotes)
2013F Ryan Hartman, 30th. Stats: 51G, 58A in 314 GP. (Now w/Wild)
2012 F Teuvo Teravainen, 18th. Stats: 91G, 198A in 428 GP (Now w/Hurricanes)
2011F Mark McNeill, 18th. Stats: 2 GP (out of NHL)
F Phillip Danault, 26th. Stats: 50G, 125A in 339 GP (Now w/Canadiens)
2010 F Kevin Hayes, 24th. Stats: 115G, 155A in 450 GP (Now w/Flyers)