Lukas Reichel set for NHL debut with Chicago Blackhawks

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CHICAGO (AP)Top prospect Lukas Reichel is slated for his NHL debut when the Chicago Blackhawks host Montreal on Thursday night.

Reichel, 19, was added to Chicago’s taxi squad Wednesday after he was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League. Interim coach Derek King said he plans to put the young forward in the lineup against the Canadiens.

”Our game plan was to let him get as many games as he can down in Rockford and then eventually bring him up for a couple games and then see how he does and see what we have here and see where he’s at,” King said, ”and then mostly likely be right back down to Rockford to finish and play some more hockey games.”

Chicago also removed defenseman Erik Gustafsson and goaltender Kevin Lankinen from COVID-19 protocol. Defenseman Nicolas Beaudin was assigned to the taxi squad, and forwards Kurtis Gabriel, Mike Hardman and Josiah Slavin and goaltenders Cale Morris and Arvid Soderblom were reassigned to Rockford.

Reichel was selected by the Blackhawks with the No. 17 pick in the 2020 NHL draft. He has 11 goals and nine assists in 20 games with the IceHogs.

Reichel, a Nurnberg, Germany, native, was named AHL player of the week on Monday. He had four goals and four assists over his last four games with Rockford.

”He’s played well down there,” King said. ”He’s obviously one of our highly skilled prospects coming up. … Here, this is a chance to do it right by him and I think the process is going to be key and I think it’s doing well.”

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