2020-21 Team: U.S. National Development Team Program
Date of Birth: May 2, 2003
Place of Birth: Grant, MN, USA
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 183 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 12th (amongst NA skaters)
- Dobber Prospects: 16th
- Smaht Scouting: 25th
- Sportsnet: 10th
- EliteProspects: 16th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 19th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 12th
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 12th
More than just a catchy name, Chaz Lucius comes into the 2021 NHL Entry Draft as a probable first-rounder. The American is playing in the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) and is committed to the University of Minnesota in the NCAA for next season.
The 6-foot centre had a rocky year marred by a lower-body injury that caused him to miss the first half of the season. Despite the injury woes, he’s still managed to put up 13 goals and 18 points in 12 games with the UNDTP Juniors, plus 13 goals and 20 points in 13 games with the U.S. National U18 Team.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
What makes Lucius stand out as a first-round talent is his knack for goal scoring. A natural finisher, he has a vast array of options in his shooting arsenal, from his wrist shot to his one-timer and even his backhand. He’s able to find the open space, change his shooting angle, and get shots off quickly, which has become almost a necessity to beat goaltenders at the NHL level. The fact that the 18-year-old has already developed these habits bodes well for his projection to pro hockey.
On top of his excellent shot and offensive instincts, he’s a very good stickhandler, which allows him to make plays in tight around the net. He’s capable down low on the cycle and is able to hold onto the puck as his teammates find open space. His vision is above average, but as a shoot-first centre, his instinct is to work give-and-go plays with his wingers, where he gets the final touch for a shot on net.
The one downside to Lucius’ game is arguably his skating. While his edgework is decent, he lacks top-end speed due to some faulty mechanics in his crossovers. This limits his ability as a puck carrier, which is why he often defers to teammates on zone entries. Because Lucius is so good at finding gaps in the defence and because he’s able to get his shot off quickly, his skating hasn’t hampered his production much to this point. However, it will be a major area of work as he moves up to pro hockey.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Chaz Lucius – NHL Draft Projection
Despite the injuries, Lucius still projects to go in the top half of the first round. His elite shot and goal-scoring make him valuable as is, but when you combine that with his hands and offensive instincts, you’ve got an undeniable talent.
“Lucius is a high-octane offensive player with exceptional problem-solving skills. A threat with the puck anywhere in the offensive zone” – Joey Padmanabhan, EPRinkside.com
“Although Lucius’ game is spearheaded by a lethal shot, my viewings of him assure me that he is not a “zero-calorie scorer”; instead, Lucius shows an alluring mix of skill and strength to go with his goal-scoring ability, and should warrant a top-15 in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft. If a team can hone his skating and render it a strength rather than a weakness, he could turn into one of the top goal-scorers of this draft and earn a long, fruitful career as a top-six center.” – Hadi Kalakeche, Dobber Prospects
“There’s no doubt in my mind Lucius would have been skyrocketing up the mock draft rankings had he been healthy to start the season. Once he gets back to full strength, look for him to light it up for the U-18’s, barring a setback. His offensive ability will have teams picking in the middle of the first round salivating at the chance to draft someone with his skillset. Based off his U-17 season, look for Chaz Lucius to be selected anywhere between the 12th and 20th picks.” – Paul Zuk, Smaht Scouting
- Offensive IQ
- Puck retrievals
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
As mentioned, Lucius will likely have to tidy up his stride in order to become a truly high-end player at the next level. As with most young forwards, he’ll also need to bulk up and put on some size and continue to work on his defensive game.
Projected as one of the top goal scorers of the 2021 Entry Draft, Lucius has all the makings of a top-six goal-scoring centre at the NHL level. He’s been compared to Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames — a crafty finisher with 30-plus goal potential.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8.5/10, Defence – 6/10
Lucius won a silver medal with the U.S. at the U17 World Hockey Championship while earning an All-Star Team selection in the process as the top goal and point scorer in the tournament.
Chaz Lucius Statistics
Chris Faria is a contributor for The Hockey Writers with a focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs. A hockey player and self-proclaimed analytics nerd, his work aims to combine both stats and a deep knowledge of the game. He is currently pursuing a graduate diploma in sports journalism at Centennial College in Toronto.