Blackhawks Make 1st-Rounder a Healthy Scratch

Although it could be considered the least controversial thing happening around the Chicago Blackhawks in recent days, it still turned some heads on Sunday when head coach Luke Richardson decided to send a young recent 1st-rounder a big-time message making Lukas Reichel a healthy scratch. 

I’m sure he’s disappointed, but we need more from him. We mentioned this should be him [taking advantage] when there’s an opportunity like (newly-acquired Anthony) Beauvillier not [being] available tonight. ... So we’re disappointed, as well.

Reichel, selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, has had a frustrating season, notching just two goals and six points in 22 games, and registering a team-worst minus-17. 

Richardson recently tried moving him out of the pivot to the wing, hoping that the reduction in responsibilities would help get him going. But no dice. His minutes were down to just 11 in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. 

The 21-year-old looked like he was ready to ascend to a prominent role in Chicago after a late-season emergence last year with 15 points in 23 games. 

Richardson says Reichel needs a reset to gather his thoughts, therefore a game in the pressbox is in order.  

“When he plays with confidence, he seems to have excellent bursts of speed — which we know that he has — and it’s always used in the right direction,” Richardson said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Now he’s thinking a little bit instead of reacting, and [he’s] chasing the game, and then we don’t see him very much in the game. 

“He needs to watch from above tonight and then come back with a little bit of fire, but also regroup mentally so physically he can do his best out there.”

The Hawks are now tied for last in the NHL with just 14 points, and have lost 8 of their last 10 games. 

Photo: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports