Devils Draft Series: Lukas Reichel — Raw, German Offensive Talent

Lukas Reichel
Lukas Reichel spent this season in the DEL, the top German league. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Profile

Lukas Reichel is the second German forward evaluated in this series. The first was likely top-three pick, Tim Stützle. Reichel is a 6-foot, 170-pound left wing who’s 18-years old (May birth-month) and a left-handed shot. He has played his whole junior career in Germany, while also representing his home country on several different occasions. In the final 2020 Draft Prospect Rankings, he ranks 11th among European skaters. He was 14th in the midseason rankings.

The Statistics

Reichel, like fellow countrymen Tim Stützle, started his junior career in the Schüler-Bundesliga. From ages 13 to 15, Reichel played in 87 games and tallied 178 points (95 goals, 83 assists) in the league. This 2.05 point per game average is a little less than Stutzle’s 2.36 point per game average across the same time frame. He then moved to the DNL (German Developmental League), where he played 18 games and totaled 29 points, then moved to the DNL U-20, where he played 32 games and racked up 42 points. 

Reichel made his professional hockey debut in the top-German professional league — the DEL — this season. He played 42 games and tallied an impressive 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) as a 17-year-old. This total is the fourth most (90 qualified seasons) for a player aged-18 and under in DEL history.

Also, keep in mind, in the DEL he is playing against men twice his age; some of the players in the DEL are even ex-NHL players. His team, Eisbären Berlin, went 32-20-7-5, which was fourth-best in the league at the time of the play stoppage. Reichel was trusted with a top-six role for most of the season, which says a lot about the talent he has. 

As mentioned, Reichel played extensively for his native country internationally. In a total of 42 international games, he has 25 goals and 17 assists. Notably, he appeared in the 2020 World Junior Championships, where he played seven games and contributed five points. 

Reichel’s Scouting Report

Strengths

Reichel’s strength centers around his offensive game. His best ability is his offensive awareness and sense, as he is tremendous at finding open areas on the ice. This ability leads to him generating several high-danger shots for himself. His shooting instincts are superb, and this part of his game is tremendous for his age.

Other strong areas of his game are his skating, controlled play through the neutral zone, and stickhandling. Reichel’s straight-line speed is one of the best in the draft, and he also has great agility. Overall, he is a solid skater, and this is needed for his size. His puckhandling allows him to often do a great job of controlling the puck through the neutral zone which is also great to see.

Weaknesses

Reichel is an extremely raw player, so he has numerous areas where he can improve. First off, he needs to be more consistent. He shows flashes of great abilities, however, there are some points where you can tell in the film that he has mental lapses. Whether it be drifting into wrong areas in the defensive zone or missing some easy passes, he has to work on being more consistent.

He also lacks strength. At six-foot, 177-pounds, his size is not awful, but he has to build more muscle. He gets easily knocked off the puck and also struggles to win board battles. This was extremely evident in the DEL where he played against men much older than him.

Reichel’s defense is also a place where he needs to get better. His awareness and effort in this end can be suspect sometimes. And as mentioned above, he seems to sometimes drift into areas he should not be in. Also, his lack of strength hurts him dearly, as he has a hard time stripping opponents of the puck and causing takeaways. 

Projection

Reichel is an extremely raw, yet exciting young prospect with a ton of upside. For a 17-year-old, he showed a great offensive game that will only continue to develop and get better. The determination in what kind of player he becomes lies in the defensive end. Getting stronger and benefiting from the right coaching will aid Reichel the most. And if this happens he has a real shot to be a solid contributor at the NHL-level, especially on the power play. 

There is no doubt Reichel will need the right coaching, along with a few more years to develop. However, I do believe he is undervalued by many. You cannot overlook what he did against men in the top-German professional league this season. The smart projection of where you can expect Reichel to be selected is in the early parts of round two. However, given his immense potential and high ceiling do not be surprised if he sneaks into the last couple picks in round one. 

Reichel’s Fit With the Devils

Reichel should not be considered if the Devils do indeed have picks number six, 10, and 17, as each of these spots is too early for him. In addition, the Devils also do not have a second-rounder so in all likelihood, his name will not be called by the red and black.

However, do not be surprised if New Jersey makes a move and turns one of the team’s first-rounders into a second or if they trade back into the late parts of round one. If this is the case, Reichel should be one of their draft targets. He is a prospect at a position the Devils need (left-wing), and he has ton of potential to be a scoring winger. 

Ranking of Evaluated Prospects

1. Alexis Lafrenière (no profile will be released)

2. Tim Stützle (05/07/2020)

3. Quinton Byfield (05/08/2020)

4. Marco Rossi (04/30/2020)

5. Jamie Drysdale (05/01/2020)

6. Lucas Raymond (04/28/2020)

7. Alexander Holtz (04/29/2020)

8. Cole Perfetti (05/06/2020)

9. Anton Lundell (05/11/2020)

10. Yaroslav Askarov (05/05/2020)

11. Seth Jarvis (05/13/2020)

12. Jake Sanderson (05/04/2020)

13. Dawson Mercer (05/16/2020)

14. Rodion Amirov (05/12/2020)

15. Jack Quinn (05/09/2020)

16. Dylan Holloway (05/14/2020)

17. Connor Zary (05/15/2020)

18. Lukas Reichel (Today)

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