Chicago Blackhawks fans will get one more chance to see one of their top prospects in action at the NHL level this season, but it comes with an asterisk. Chicago recalled forward Lukas Reichel from the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs today, presumably for the third and final time this season. But, as NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis notes, how much he plays down the stretch impacts his contractual situation in the long run. Reichel only needs to play five more NHL games to burn the first year of his entry-level contract, as the team still retains the ability to slide his contract a year forward provided he plays nine or fewer NHL games this year. But as Chicago soldiers on toward a rebuild, cost-effectiveness probably isn’t top of mind right now. While Reichel has averaged 14:10 per night in his five NHL games this year without a point, he has 49 points in 49 AHL games this year. You’d be hard-pressed to find a good argument as to why Reichel doesn’t deserve another look in Chicago during the last, inconsequential month of the season.
Elsewhere from the Western Conference tonight:
- Valeri Nichushkin isn’t playing for Colorado tonight, compounding a long list of current injuries to important players for the Avs. It’s a non-COVID illness holding him out of the lineup, as the bug that everyone seems to be catching has hit the 27-year-old forward. He’s had a breakout season in a near-constant top-six role, potting 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points in 51 games. That now makes half of Colorado’s top-six out of the lineup for now, as he joins Gabriel Landeskog and Nazem Kadri on the scratch list.
- It’s a pesky non-COVID illness striking again, this time against the Dallas Stars. Denis Gurianov is out of the lineup now as the team continues to battle with Vegas and Nashville for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. The skilled shooter has 30 points in 63 games this season.