Monday, May 6, 2024

Lukas Reichel Just Convinced The Blackhawks To Re-sign Him


A few weeks ago, I wrote about the tricky situation the Blackhawks are in with pending RFA Lukas Reichel. The team appears to have three main options: extend a qualifying offer or short-term deal, trust him with a long-term contract, or get rid of him via trade or free agency. Though the young forward’s season wrapped up Sunday night when the IceHogs’ season came to a close, he couldn’t have picked a better time to convince the Blackhawks front office to let him stay. With a two-goal performance to help keep his team in the game for 60 minutes, it certainly seems as if Reichel has convinced Chicago to bring him back in one way or another next season.

To be clear, one two-goal performance is not enough to earn a player another contract. Reichel struggled throughout the season despite facing high expectations to take another step forward in his game, even getting demoted to the AHL at one point in the season and finishing with 16 points in 65 games. His apparent lack of confidence or willingness to score was on display throughout the season.

However, Sunday’s performance was exactly what the Blackhawks wanted to see before offering him another contract. It wasn’t just that he scored two goals, but how he scored those goals. In both instances, he called for the puck with authority, which was missing from his game all year. He then snapped a quick, confident release on both, which is another great sign after the tentative style of play he previously exhibited. Reichel was sent to the IceHogs this year to help him get his “swagger” back, and he showed Sunday that he’s been able to. Everything he exhibited implies that the eye of the storm has passed, and Reichel should be able to continue on his highly anticipated development path.

Despite a lackluster season in the NHL, the young forward just put the cherry on top of his case to be re-signed by the Blackhawks this summer. Chicago should be able to get a great team-friendly deal given his lack of production, but there’s no question now that if the Blackhawks let him develop somewhere else, it’ll be a decision they’ll certainly regret.

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