With the no. 18 pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Winnipeg Jets have selected Chaz Lucius from the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP)
About Chaz Lucius
Chaz Lucius is an American centre who is a natural goal scorer in the offensive zone. The 6-foot, 18-year-old has a knack for scoring around the net — as proven by his 38 points in 25 games with the USNTDP Juniors and U.S. National U18 Team after missing the first half of the season with a lower-body injury. Although he does need work on his skating, he has all the potential to become an elite finisher in the NHL.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“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.
“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 stick handler, 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 defense 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.”
How This Affects the Jets Plans
Lucius brings an elite goal-scoring ability to the Jets, which will be the envy of this draft in the next few years to come.
Melissa has been covering the Montreal Canadiens for The Hockey Writers since March of 2020. She is also THW’s Social Media Community Manager and a co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly show produced by THW. In 2006, she spearheaded the social media initiatives for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup and was the primary person responsible for their upkeep for over 10 years. She has written articles for multiple tennis websites and interviewed the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. While her career in sports started in tennis, her first love has always been hockey. She has a journalism degree from Concordia University.