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Getting to Know: Wiesblatt and Reichel

Wings could find these wingers in second, third rounds

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

Whether in-person or virtually, the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is tentatively set for Oct. 9-10.

The Detroit Red Wings have three second-round picks - their own, the Edmonton Oilers' pick (acquired in the trade that sent Andreas Athanasiou to Edmonton) and the Washington Capitals' pick (acquired in the trade that sent Nick Jensen to Washington).

For the next several weeks, will take a look at some of the players, one North American and one international each week, who are likely to be available.

This week we'll examine two wingers who are likely to be around for those second and third-round slots.

The first of those might not be a first-round selection but there's no question his backstory stands out above all the others.

Prince Albert Raiders right wing Ozzy Wiesblatt collected 25 goals and 45 assists in 64 WHL games this past season.

Watch: Youtube Video

Wiesblatt is the third of four hockey-playing boys and of five kids total born to deaf parents. None of the children is deaf.

Those parents divorced and Kim White became a single mom raising all five on a very limited income, not easy when the four boys all play a costly sport like hockey.

The oldest boys, Ocean and Orca, left home for a time to live with other families so their mom and siblings -- Ozzy, Oasiz and Oceania, the only girl in the bunch -- would have a better chance of success.

Watch: Youtube Video

Ocean, 21, plays for the MJHL's Portage Terriers; Orca, 20, plays for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen; and Oasiz, 16, just started playing for the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers.

Now the family hopes that one of them is able to realize a dream to make it to the NHL, not just to play hockey at the highest level but to help his family.

NHL Central Scouting ranked Ozzy Wiesblatt 19th among North American skaters.

Tweet from @BHolmes_Hockey: What a goal by Ozzy Wiesblatt on the 4-on-3, keeps his head up and is able to outwait the defense and goaltender before smoothly slipping it behind Basran #2020NHLDraft

TSN's Craig Button had Wiesblatt 29th on his final Craig's List, released at the end of March.

Tweet from @PARaidersHockey: For the second award of the day, the winner of the Three Stars Award Presented By @RedheadEquip is...Ozzy Wiesblatt (@ozzywiesblatt)!#GoRaidersGo #YearEndAwards

TSN's Bob McKenzie ranked the 5-foot-10, 183-pound right wing 40th overall.

Tweet from @PARaidersHockey: #CHLKTP Profile: Ozzy Wiesblatt@ozzywiesblatt shares his story with @CHLHockey and talks about how his brothers helped shape his competitive edge.@KubotaCanadaLtd 🎥

The Athletic's Scott Wheeler placed Wiesblatt 52nd while Corey Pronman had him 20 places higher at 32.

"Wiesblatt was a top player for Prince Albert this season following an excellent 16-year-old season where he was a contributor to its WHL title run," Pronman said. "Wiesblatt checks a lot of boxes. He's very quick and skilled. He makes skilled plays at full speed and is a handful for defenders to stop when he comes barreling down on the rush. His hands stand out, with extremely quick twitch touches and ability to inside out defenders. He can attack in a direct style, but also has great vision and can pull up to make a tough play. He was on the flank for Prince Albert's power play and looked like a pro in the type of plays he made in that role. He's barely 5-10 so that is the major knock on him, but he is competitive and doesn't mind the physical engagements. He is listed as a winger but can play down the middle."

Tweet from @TheWHL: One of two @PARaidersHockey in the top 20 North American skaters for the #NHLDraft, @ozzywiesblatt thrived w/ @PARaidersHockey! #WHLStats

Red Line Report had Wiesblatt 43rd in its 2020 Draft Guide, saying, "Has magical hands in tight, some of the best in the draft. Has tremendous confidence in his puckhandling and a high degree of patience around the net. Can easily thread passes through defenders' skates. Brings speed and energy to the team and leads by example every night. Plays in all situations. Not afraid to get his nose dirty, and was born with attitude. Has a real 'IT' factor about him. Shot is only average, but it's sneaky quick and he should use it more - he's especially deadly on the PP. Short but stocky forward uses sharp cuts to delay, and then bursts to holes. Hits passes on the fly with creative placement. Tries hard when outnumbered in corners. Fires hard at teammates' sticks for designed tip plays. Finds loose pucks in traffic and uses nimble edging to escape. Works the offensive zone cycle to perfection, creating extended offensive pressure."

Tweet from @BHolmes_Hockey: What a goal by Ozzy Wiesblatt on the 4-on-3, keeps his head up and is able to outwait the defense and goaltender before smoothly slipping it behind Basran #2020NHLDraft

Dobber Hockey said: "The frenetic ball of havoc, Weisblatt is the type of player that you absolutely love having on your team and loathe having to line up against. The 5'10 183-pound winger is one of the very best rush transition players in the Western League. He explodes through holes and can deftly find trailers for chances. Loves to disrupt on the forecheck and play the body. Is a handful wherever he is on the ice. His 70 points in 64 games were fourth in the WHL for draft-eligible kids. Screams energy line forward who can move up and down to spark mates."

Tim Stützle is getting the majority of the attention among German players but he is not the only highly-regarded German player eligible for the draft this year.

Lukas Reichel played left wing for Eisbären Berlin in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), collecting 12 goals and 12 assists in 42 games.

Tweet from @RSGHockey: #2020NHLDraft prospect to watch: @lukas__44 🎥 courtesy of Eisb��ren Berlin and DEL. #RSGHockey

NHL Central Scouting ranked Reichel 11th among international skaters.

TSN's Button had Reichel 33rd while McKenzie thought more highly of him, ranking him 20th overall.

The Athletic's Wheeler and Pronman were close in their evaluations, with Wheeler placing him 31st and Pronman 25th.

"Early on this season, I was more impressed in my first DEL viewings of countryman J.J. Peterka than I was of Reichel," Wheeler said. "But as the year progressed, Reichel just continued to progress while Peterka's game plateaued. Peterka plays a heavier, more net-driven game, while Reichel has a finesse and touch to his game that makes him more dangerous both off the rush and from the offensive zone in. The more I watched him, the more I appreciated the way his heads-up style allows him to impact the game as both a scoring threat and a creator for his linemates. There's a comfort level about his game that I admire. He doesn't rush plays under pressure. To have that assertiveness on the ice against professionals this early in his career is impressive. Add in standout skating (especially through his crossovers), a May birthday and room to add some muscle and there are a lot of reasons to believe he will continue to progress."

Reichel is listed at 6-feet, 170 pounds.

"Reichel had an impressive season playing versus men and getting regular minutes in the DEL for a good club in Eisbären Berlin," Pronman said. "I always saw some skill and speed in his game, but this season I saw a high level of creativity with the puck, making difficult plays through defenders and to his teammates. He has the skill and the pace to score in the NHL. I wouldn't call him the true playmaker you want running a power play, but he sees the ice well and gets a high IQ grade due to how well he creates in small areas. The last time he recorded a penalty was two seasons ago in junior club play, but I don't think he's soft. I've seen him be hard on his puck pursuits, drive the net frequently and win battles versus bigger players. But it would be fair to say he's not a very physical or edgy player."

Tweet from @Shattenkirk: Lukas Reichel is one of the most underrated players in this draft. Mini thread: (hope the quality holds up)Strong play on the boards ������ Puck to the point ������ Instantly shows himself as an option ������ Approach he takes keeps the forwards stick out of the lane ������ Goal

Red Line Report had Reichel ranked 60th in its draft guide, saying, "After a season of stalled development last year, became quite a factor in the DEL this season, scoring regularly on a strong team. A fleet-footed skater with excellent feet - very quick off the mark, agile in close quarters and can get up ice in a hurry. Lugs the puck up ice and makes plays at top gear. Reacts quickly to scoring chances in traffic. Skinny build and not strong or physical, but does not shy away from going to the dirty areas and sticking his nose in. Gets too fancy at times, trying behind-the-back passes that often don't connect. Is quite dangerous around the net, possesses a quick and hard wrist shot. Has to work on becoming more physical, but he's good at cushioning and absorbing hits. Also very good at finding open ice against bigger and older players by keeping his feet moving. Needs to work on his 200-foot game - is defensively challenged."

Tweet from @JokkeNevalainen: Lukas Reichel's shootout winner from yesterday. #DEL #2020NHLDraft

Reichel is not the first hockey player in his family.

His father, Martin, is a center who has played most of his career in the DEL. His uncle, Robert, played for the Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs. His brother, Thomas, 21, also plays for Eisbären Berlin. Finally, his cousin, Kristian, 22, is in the Winnipeg Jets' system and currently plays for the AHL's Manitoba Moose.

Dobber Hockey said: "Reichel is an offensive winger who had a great season playing on one of the top teams in DEL. He got to play a pretty good role on the team and took advantage of that opportunity. He also played well at the World Juniors. Reichel comes from a true hockey family, and it shows in the way he plays a pro style game at an early age. He works hard on the ice and understands the game very well. He has a very good shot which allows him to beat goalies from distance but he scores most of his goals from up close utilizing his great hands. He's also a great skater and good at making plays for others."

Tweet from @JokkeNevalainen: Lukas Reichel (2020) with a great redirection goal to make it 2-4. #U20

Reichel played for Germany Monday in an U20 friendly game against Switzerland and scored a goal.

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