Blackhawks put F Reichel back in lineup after healthy scratch
It remains an ongoing project.
Reichel was back in the lineup Tuesday night against Nashville after he was a healthy scratch for Sunday's 4-1 loss at Minnesota. After spending the first part of the season on Chicago's top two lines, Reichel was on the team's fourth line.
The 21-year-old forward skated for almost 12 1/2 minutes during a 4-3 shootout loss to the Predators.
“I thought there was definitely steps,” coach Luke Richardson said. “I thought there was urgency in his game. There was a couple times maybe it just flung off his stick, but he almost scored by taking it hard to the net in the third period.”
Reichel was selected by the Blackhawks with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 draft. He made his NHL debut in January 2022, but he really seemed to turn a corner at the end of last season. He finished with seven goals and eight assists in 23 games.
Encouraged by that performance and his work this summer, Chicago gave him a chance to play center during training camp. Following a slow start, he was moved back to wing. But he hasn't been able to find his form — leading to the scratch against the Wild.
“It’s disappointing, but I know I’ve got to be better,” Reichel said before the loss to Nashville. “I don’t play my game right now but it’s a good wake-up call. Now it’s just about playing good, playing my game again.”
Reichel has two goals and four assists in 23 games this season. His production took on added importance for Chicago after Taylor Hall was sidelined by a season-ending knee injury and Corey Perry was cut for violating team conduct policies.
The last-place Blackhawks have dropped four in a row, scoring a total of six goals during the slide. Reichel could provide a big lift if he could raise his level of play, but Richardson said the young forward is just one part of the equation.
“It would help, but we’re not expecting him to do everything by himself,” Richardson said. “We want him to play within the team system and when it’s his chance to shoot — just like other guys, they have to take that shot.”
Chicago also got Anthony Beauvillier back for the matchup with Nashville. The 26-year-old Beauvillier was acquired in a trade with Vancouver last week. He made his Blackhawks debut at Winnipeg on Saturday, but he wasn't able to play against Minnesota because of visa issues.
“I just got to seize the opportunity,” he said. “I have the chance to play with some really good players here and a really good group of guys. I’m still getting to know all of them and all their names and stuff, but I had a really warm welcome and really looking forward to keep this going with the group here.”
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