Blackhawks Lukas Reichel Says He Was "Pissed Off" About Demotion

It was almost exactly one month ago when the Chicago Blackhawks demoted their top prospect Lukas Reichel to the American Hockey League. And despite his woeful first half of the season, he's now admitted that the demotion left him "pissed off."

Reichel, the Hawks' first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft, had just three goals and 10 points in 50 games with Chicago before being sent down, along with a dreadful plus-minus rating of -28. Nevertheless, he wasn't happy about going down to the Rockford IceHogs. 

"At first, you're just pissed off and you're frustrated. But then the next day I woke up and I said: 'I'm going to turn this around and try my best down there and help this team win.'"

And that, he did. The IceHogs went on a 7-game win streak after Reichel arrived, and he helped lead the way with seven points in nine games, with a plus-4 rating. 

Now, he's back with the Blackhawks, and hopefully ready to claim his top prospect status.  

Reichel was developing into a burgeoning two-way center with the IceHogs, delivering 57 points in 56 games in 2021-22, and again last season in the AHL, with 20 goals and 31 assists for 51 points in 55 games. He continued that progress in 23 games last year in a call-up to the Blackhawks, recording seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 23 games. 

But it all fell apart in 2023-24. Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said the demotion last month was necessary, and it obviously paid off. 

"Just another way of trying to kickstart, whether it be confidence, whether it be the play, getting more puck touches, just trying to get some positive momentum going. It's been a tough year for him, but he responded very well."

The Blackhawks are currently second last in the NHL with 41 points at 18-44- five.

 Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports