2019-20 Team: Eisbären Berlin (#44)
Date of Birth: May 17, 2002
Place of Birth: Nuremberg, Germany
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 172 lbs.
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
Much has been said about the “Big Three” draft-eligible German players. Tim Stützle appears to be a generational talent and a top-five pick, while J.J. Peterka has shown to be a big-game performer, most noticeably at the 2020 World Juniors. The third member has not received as much publicity as the other two, but don’t let that fool you — Lukas Reichel is another top German player ready to become an NHL star.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
While he was often overshadowed by his teammates at the World Juniors, Reichel has broken out while playing with Eisbären Berlin. Bouncing between the second and third lines, the nephew of former NHLer Robert Reichel has 12 goals and 24 points in 42 games in the DEL, Germany’s top hockey league. The 17-year-old spent the entire season in the league, despite preseason speculation that he would need some time to develop in the second or third-tier league. Now, he’s one of the DEL’s highest-scoring teenagers of the past two decades and only 10 points behind Stützle.
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. He has slowed down since the beginning of the season — in December, he had 15 points in 23 games and was averaging over 13 minutes a night — but Reichel has still developed into a top talent far faster than anyone expected.
Yet there is more to his game than just scoring goals. Stefan Ustorf, Berlin’s former player development coach and current scout for the Los Angeles Kings, said, “(Reichel) will score his goals, although he’s more of a playmaker than a scorer.” He has an excellent eye for developing plays and is not afraid to get into the corners to fish the puck out despite his smaller stature. Using his speed and quickness, he is able to avoid larger players and make crisp passes to create opportunities to score.
However, at the season’s end, scouts were still divided as to where Reichel would fall in the draft. Part of that is due to his lack of physicality. Although he has a knack for digging pucks out of corners and has shown a high level of effort and competitiveness, he rarely throws a hit and is almost never in the box. Over the past two seasons, during which he has played on five international teams and in three German leagues, he has totaled just four penalty minutes. It’s led some to speculate on his chances of surviving the physical play of the NHL.
His defensive play has also drawn criticism. Despite having incredible speed and a very high hockey IQ, his 200-foot game is lacking, with his defensive presence not as strong as his offensive side. But, according to teammate and former NHLer Maxim Lapierre, there isn’t a problem. On top of working incredibly hard, he has “…a natural talent. It’s something you’re born with. He’s a very strong skater, he’s comfortable with and without the puck, and he’s got a great eye, seeing everything really well.”
Maybe the biggest problem is that Reichel has been unable to separate himself from his World Junior teammates, and thus has slipped under the radar. He doesn’t have the all-around game like Stützle, and does not play a flashy game like Peterka. Yet those who forget about Reichel at the draft will be kicking themselves down the road, as he’s shown to have a mental game far above what’s expected from an 18-year-old. He takes everything in stride, focusing on the task at hand and completing it to the best of his abilities.
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Lukas Reichel – NHL Draft Projection
There is no consensus as to where Reichel will end up at the draft, largely due to the difficulty in scouting the German league. Some still have him as a second or even third-round pick, while others have come around and now see him as a late first-round pick. He’s drawn some comparisons to Dominik Bokk, who was ranked similarly at this point in his draft year and eventually went 25th overall to the St. Louis Blues. At this moment, though, he looks to be a solid second-round option.
“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. He is also pretty young for his draft class. Reichel is projected to be drafted in the second round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.” Jokke Nevalainen, Dobber Prospects
“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.” Dan Cosentino, Sportsnet
“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.” Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
- Hockey Sense
- Skating and Top Speed
- Puckhandling and Shot
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- 200-foot presence
Reichel possesses the skating, offensive potential, work ethic and quick decision making that NHL teams look for, but it currently held back by his size and age; should the draft be held in June, he will only just have turned 18, making him one of the youngest players available. Still, he projects to be a very capable middle-six winger in the NHL with the potential to secure a top-six role on the right team.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10, Defense – 6.5/10
Since 2017-18, Reichel has represented Germany in several international tournaments. He was a member of the gold-medal winning German team at the 2019 U18 D1A World Juniors, helping the country earn a promotion to the top division in 2020. That same season, he also led the U17 German team with 11 points in four games. At the 2020 World Juniors, he had three goals and five points, which tied Stützle for fourth on the team.