While hockey is nothing new to Germany, it’s status has been growing due to the recent success of Edmonton Oilers’ star Leon Draisaitl and last year’s #6 pick of the Detroit Red Wings Moritz Seider. This year’s deep draft is highlighted by a trio of German forwards that could all be selected in the opening round. This starts with potential top 5 pick Tim Stützle (profiled by Gerard) and continues with potential 1st round pick John-Jason Peterka (profiled by Mike). Today’s profile will wrap up this trio with rising German prospect Lukas Reichel who has established himself as a productive player in Germany’s top league. Let’s get to know more about Reichel now.
Who is Lukas Reichel?
Lukas Reichel is a left-handed, left wing that was born in Nuremberg, Germany on May 17, 2002. His Elite Prospects page list him at 6’0”, 172 lbs. and this is confirmed by his Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) page. While hockey has been improving it’s profile and development in Germany, it hasn’t always been at the forefront of the sports scene. So how did Lukas Reichel end up pursuing a career in hockey? Well, Lukas comes from a hockey family that traces their roots back to the Czech Republic.
His father, Martin Reichel, was born in Most, Czechoslovakia and was a center for 20 years in Germany. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1992 Draft by the Edmonton Oilers but never made it to North America. 18 of his seasons were in the German top league, whether it was the Eishockey-Bundesliga from 1990-94 or it’s successor and still present, Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) from 1994-2008. Martin would then wrap up his career with 2 seasons in the German 3rd tier from 2008-10. Martin represented Germany on the international level 86 times from World Championships to Deutschland Cups to World Cup action. Martin Reichel also coached in the Starbulls Rosenheim organization from 2012-2019 and a few years go was named to the German Hockey Hall of Fame. It was Martin’s older brother that was the more well-known among hockey fans in North America.
Robert Reichel was also born in Litvínov, Czechoslovakia and was also a center. he was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 4th round of the 1989 Draft. His NHL career would stretch from 1990-2004 with the Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Robert did have stops in Germany from 1994-96, the Czech Republic from 1999-01 as well as 2002-03, while in the midst of his NHL career. He would later wrap up his career in the Czech Republic from 2005-2010 as a player though he has been coaching there for the past decade. As a NHL player he put up an impressive 630 points across 830 regular season games and had 31 points across 70 playoff games. He represented Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic internationally winning an Olympic Gold Medal, 3 World Championship Gold Medals, and 4 World Championship Bronze Medals. He is a member of both the Czech Republic and International Ice Hockey Hall of Fames.
Lukas Reichel also has a brother aged 20 years old, Thomas Reichel, who is signed with Eisbären Berlin in the DEL but spent last season on loan with Lausitzer Füchse in the 2nd tier Deutschen Eishockey Liga 2 (DEL2). His cousin, 21 year old Kristian Reichel (Robert’s son) has spent the past 3 seasons in North America with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) and Manitoba moose (AHL). Now that we’ve covered an overview of his family background in hockey, let’s take a look at what Lukas has accomplished in his short career.
Lukas Reichel came up through the Starbulls Rosenheim organization which is no surprise as his father was a former player and coach for the club. His father even coached him at the U16 level from 2015-2018. The 2015-16 season is the first one that we have data on for Reichel. He spent that year with Starbulls Rosenheim U16 despite being 13 years old. His 13 goals and 7 assists for 20 points in 28 games put him tied for 4th on the team in scoring and 10th among all U14 players in the Schüler-BL. He would spend another season with the U16 team in 2016-17 and would break out for 35 goals and 37 assists in 36 games. He would rank 2nd on his team, 7th in the league, and 3rd among U15 players in scoring. He was once again behind top 2020 draft prospect Tim Stützle.
The 2017-18 season would be another crucial year for Reichel to cement his notable prospect status. In 23 games with the Starbulls Rosenheim U16 team he had 47 goals and 39 assists. Those 86 points led the team and put a ton of distance between himself and 2nd place Ludwig Dazner who had 52 points in 22 games. He made his debut for the U19 team and had 13 goals and 16 assists across 18 games at that level as a 15 year old. That ranked 2nd on his team and 3rd among U16 players in that league in scoring. Reichel also made his international debut for Germany. In 10 games with the U16 team he had 10 goals and 3 assists as well as 2 goals and an assist in 3 games with the U17 team.
By this point it was clear that he had outgrown a club of the size of Starbulls Rosenheim and needed to move to a higher quality organization to continue his development. On June 2, 2018, he signed with one of Germany’s most successful clubs, Eisbären Berlin. In his age 16 season of 2018-19, he briefly played with the Eisbären Juniors Berlin U17 team where he had 3 goals and 3 assists in 4 games. He spent the bulk of that season with the U20 team where he put up a team leading 11 goals and 31 assists in 32 regular season games. In 5 playoff games he had 3 goals and 4 assists. In terms of U17 players, he ranked 3rd in scoring, once again behind Tim Stützle and undersized forward Fabian Herrmann. Reichel also succeeded once again on the international stage. In 4 games with Germany’s U17 team he had 5 goals and 6 assists, in 13 games with the U18 team he had 4 goals and 4 assists, and he appeared once for the U20 team. Most notably, he had 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games with Germany’s entry at the U18 World Junior Championship Division 1A where they won Gold.
This past season, his age 17 one, he played his first year of men’s hockey with Eisbären Berlin in the DEL. As a rookie he put up 12 goals and 12 assists in 42 games. Thanks to his DEL page, we know that he averaged 1.66 shots per game and had a 17.14 shooting percentage. His average ice time was 12:58 per game. Eisbären Berlin were 4th in the DEL standings so he was contributing to a good team despite his age and lack of pro experience. Overall, his 24 points were 8th on the team in scoring and 2nd in U18 scoring, behind Tim Stützle’s 34 points and ahead of John-Jason Peterka’s 11 points. It was another active year for Reichel representing Germany at the U20 level. He had 4 goals and 3 assists in 11 games across the year. At the U20 World Junior Championship he put up a respectable 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 games for a Germany team that struggled against top competition, but avoided relegation. He tied Tim Stützle for 4th place on the team in scoring, one point behind 2nd place finishers John-Jason Peterka and Moritz Seider (2019 Draft 1/6 Detroit), and 3 points behind leader Dominik Bokk (2018 Draft 1/25 St. Louis; since traded to Carolina). Now that we know Reichel’s background and how he has performed at multiple age groups and levels in his career, let’s take a look at where he his ranked by the scouting community.
Where is Lukas Reichel Ranked?
#11 European Skaters - NHL Central Scouting (Final Ranking)
#20 - Hockey Prospect (January Ranking)
#48 - Future Considerations (March Ranking)
#31 - ISS Hockey (March Ranking)
#25 - The Draft Analyst (March Ranking)
#29 - TSN - Bob McKenzie (Midseason Ranking)
#33 - TSN - Craig Button (March Ranking)
#22 - Sportsnet - Sam Cosentino (April Ranking)
A common theme in most of the rankings is that Reichel is the 3rd best German available after Tim Stützle and John-Jason Peterka. It seems that most outlets view him as a late 1st/2nd round pick. He seemed to be trending up as his season closed, moving up 3 spots on NHL Central Scouting’s list from their midterm to final rankings and 9 spots on the latest list from The Draft Analyst. It will be interesting to see where he goes in the draft as I can see him being all over the place across the different draft boards for NHL teams. He’s a skilled player that had success at the age of 17 in a men’s league, though it wasn’t a top one in Europe.
What Others Say About Lukas Reichel
Our first report comes from Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst. In his personal rankings, Reichel has gone from 142nd in August to 49th in December to 34th in January to 25th in March. In this extensive scouting report of Reichel, Kournianos describes what makes Reichel an interesting prospect. Here are a couple of highlights from that report:
A well-balanced and agile skater with excellent vision, a deadly shot, and playmaking skills, Reichel is a German Elite League regular who has performed well above expectations for the Berlin Polar Bears. He’s got breakaway speed and lateral quickness, and good things happen once he can get into open ice.
Reichel has bounced between Berlin’s second and third line, plus a regular role on the second power play unit...His quick thinking and first step are two critical aspects to his overall game. Reichel wins a lot of 50/50 puck battles and his speed puts a lot of pressure on opposing blueliners, especially in the chip-and-chase game.
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. Although he wasn’t a regular on the penalty kill, Reichel has the smarts, foot speed, and stamina to be groomed for checking scenarios.
Reichel is an excellent stickhandler in traffic and along the boards.
The primary weapons in Reichel’s arsenal are his hands and his shot. He can release an accurate attempt off the pass via a short windup, but Reichel also has shown the ability to make rapid changes to the angle of his shot. Additionally, Reichel can blister shots high to the short side in addition to picking that far corner, this leaving goalies at a significant disadvantage.
The first thing that I want to talk about from this report is Reichel’s usage. It’s very impressive that he was able to lock down a 2nd/3rd line role and some PP time for a top team in a men’s league at the age of 17. It also says a lot about his understanding of the game and maturity that they trusted him in late/close situations. This suggests that his defensive game is coming along nicely and I’m encouraged to read that he could be a future threat on the PK and in checking situations.
On to his skills, I suppose it’s not a surprise that a junior aged player succeeding in a men’s league already has “excellent vision” along with “a deadly shot” and “playmaking skills.” His speed, stickhandling, shooting and passing abilities certainly make it seem like he has a solid chance to translate these skills as he climbs the ranks in the professional level.
Our next report comes from Jokke Nevalainen of Dobber Prospects who had this to say about Reichel back in December:
Reichel is a very good skater with great combination of speed and quickness. He is constantly moving and participating in the play even when he doesn’t have the puck. Reichel has very good puck-skills and a great shot. He isn’t afraid to battle for pucks in the corners or go to the dirty areas of the ice which shows his pro-like style. Reichel has shown great hockey sense on both sides of the puck; he is already pretty good defensively which is a positive sign for his NHL future. He isn’t all that flashy but he is very efficient, and he has legitimate middle-six upside at the NHL level.
This report further backs up the claim that Reichel excells in skating, shooting, and puckhandling. I’m encouraged to read that despite being undersized last season in a men’s league, he showed the ability to battle for pucks and go to the dirty areas. This experience will only help him as he grows into his frame over the next couple of years and tries to make the jump to North America. It’s also not every day you read a lot of defensive praise for a 17 year old, so I find that fairly interesting, especially when you pair that with his NHL upside being a middle 6 winger due to his offensive skills.
In Sam Cosentino’s latest rankings for Sportsnet where he ranked Reichel 22nd, he had this to say about his game:
Plays a very aware offensive game, knowing where his linemates are at all times. Possesses the skill to make plays to open space for himself, or create lanes to distribute.
Reichel certainly is coming across as a cerebral player in these reports. Finally, let’s check out Scouching’s 2020 Report on Reichel:
There is a lot of detail in that video so I highly recommend checking it out. A simple summary is that Scouching sees Reichel as an offensively minded winger with a lot of raw potential, the ability to find space and teammates in dangerous areas of the ice, and his ability to move the puck up ice with control. His shooting instincts, namely his ability to shoot from medium to high danger areas, are another positive asset. Scouching notes that Reichel needs to be more consistent with being involved but that is to be expected by an undersized forward in a men’s league.
A Little Video
Our first video comes from Prospect Film Room (The Draft Analyst’s YouTube account). It’s a highlights package of Reichel’s from this past season:
Around the 1:46 mark you can see him set up a goal by winning a puck battle on the board and finding a teammate in the slot for a goal. At the 2:14 mark you can see him finish off a 2v0 after the opponents lost the puck and Reichel’s team was able to hit them quickly on the counter. Starting at about the 3:16 mark you can see him execute on the PP by skating right into a high danger area in the slot and beating the goaltender. This video finishes with some of his WJC highlights.
Our next video comes from PuckProspects on YouTube. This is another highlights package of Reichel’s DEL season:
This video opens with some shootout highlights before getting to game play. At 0:55 you can see him use his hands in tight to protect the puck before getting it on net to beat the goaltender. The highlight following that sees Reichel gain the zone and immediately pass it and drive the net to help set up a goal. He scores a PP goal on the next play in the video when planting himself at the top of the crease and fighting for a loose puck. At 2:23 you can see him make use of his skating and intelligence when he chases down a long pass, gathers it in the offensive zone while under pressure, and flips it past the goaltender for the goal. Obviously, a highlights package will showcase him in a positive light, but I’m encouraged by the way he seems to find himself or teammates in those medium to high danger areas to score.
An Opinion of Sorts
I hold a fairly favorable opinion of Reichel as a prospect. He strikes me as a player that may not have the highest ceiling but has a higher floor than most draft eligible players. For what he lacks in high end talent, he seems to make up for with a safer projection. His defensive game seems solid for where he has it at in his career. He’s even earned important ice time as a 17 year old in a men’s league in close games. His north/south skating, vision, and playmaking abilities are all positives that he’s shown off while playing against older, more experienced players. I’m really intrigued by his ability to either find himself space or his teammates when it comes to generating shots and goals from the medium to high danger scoring areas in front of the net. Looking at him, it’s obvious that he’s an undersized, 17 year old but when watching him play he comes across as a player that is much more experienced than his age. The biggest criticism of his play so far seems to be his inconsistency which isn’t abnormal for a player in his situation. He really rose up draft boards across the scouting community this season and completed a German trio of very skilled draft prospects for this class. His versatility should allow him to have a solid career in professional hockey.
With Reichel, the questions will center around how will he perform in a league of a higher quality than the DEL? How much weight do you put on his performance in that league as a 17 year old? How strong do you see him getting? One of the advantages that I think you get when drafting a player out a league like the DEL is that you have time and options for his development. He turns 18 in May and is signed with Eisbären Berlin through the 2020-21 season. Allowing him to play more in that league would be fine as his role could grow naturally with Berlin. You could bring him over to North America, whether that was to play in the CHL or the AHL, as the Red Wings did with Moritz Seider this past season. I think taking a more patient approach for Reichel would be best but the point remains is that you have options.
The draft order isn’t finalized due to the current situation, but as of a right now the Devils have picks at #6, #10, and #17 in the 1st round and then they don’t pick again until the 4th round. Obviously, they will have much better options on the board with those first 2 selections and using the #17 pick on Reichel would seem like a bit of a stretch. If they were to draft him, I think it’d a situation where they trade that #17 pick back in attempt to add perhaps a late 1st round pick with an early 2nd round pick. I still would rather just take the best available player at #17 (or Yaroslav Askarov if he was to fall that far) as opposed to trading back trying to land Reichel and another pick/asset in the process. While I hold a favorable view of Reichel and have a lot of interest in him, I just don’t see him as a fit given the Devils current draft positions.
What are your thoughts on Lukas Reichel? What part of the draft do you see him going in? Is he on your radar as a player the Devils should traget? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!