The San Jose Sharks could be eyeing Lukas Reichel for their first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Son of former Edmonton Oilers’ second-round pick Martin Reichel and nephew of retired NHLer Robert Reichel, the game of hockey runs through the veins of 18-year-old German left wing Lukas Reichel.
This season, playing for Eisbären Berlin of the DEL, Reichel scored 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 42 games.
Additionally, he scored seven points (four goals, three assists) in 11 games during International Junior play for Germany’s U20 team and five points (three goals, two assists) in seven games during the World Junior Championship for Germany’s U20 team.
Reichel is a great skater — he possesses excellent speed, acceleration, agility, and edgework and has a first step that’s described as explosive. His skating makes him hard to defend one-on-one and allows him to get around defensemen with or without the puck.
For his age, Reichel has a well-developed, strong lower body. This makes him difficult to knock off the puck and allows him to fight through checks and effectively play in the dirty areas such as in front of the net and along the boards.
Reichel owns a soft, quick set of hands which he effectively uses to score most of his goals from down low and in tight to the net by either deking the goalie or roofing the puck. The young winger is also good at burying rebounds, deflecting shots, and one-timing.
Being a good skater with an excellent set of hands, Reichel is good at controlling the puck below the goal line. He’s also a gifted playmaker — he can make a quick move to open up space to set up a teammate or and he’s not afraid to drive to the net if he has the space.
For further out, Reichel is equipped with a good, accurate wrist shot.
An effective and efficient forechecker, Reichel is able to force defensemen to make mistakes and turn over the puck. With very good vision and anticipation, he knows where other players on the ice will be.
In his own zone, Reichel is good at supporting his defense down low and applying pressure via the backcheck.
Like many young forwards, Reichel’s downfall is his defense — it’s very inconsistent. He often finds himself puck watching, leading to his man getting open.
Reichel also has the tendency to leave his own zone too early looking to create an offensive opportunity, causing his team to be down a man in their own zone.
Although his lower body is stronger than many in his class, his upper body lacks. Because of this, he isn’t as efficient as he should be at winning battles for loose pucks.
Offensively, Reichel’s shot could be harder. Like battles for loose pucks, this could be improved with a stronger upper body.
San Jose Sharks Prediction
I’ve seen Reichel ranked as high as No. 11 by NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters) and as low as No. 50 by eliteprospects.com, so he’ll probably go as early as the late first round or as late as the mid-second round.
For the San Jose Sharks, this could be a good pick. San Jose is in need of good offensive prospects and Reichel could be the answer. However, I think there are better options when it comes to forward in this year’s draft.
No matter where Reichel’s goes, he’ll have to spend some time in the minors to add muscle and fix his defensive game. However, if developed right, the young German has the potential to be a top-six winger.