Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Chaz Lucius Scouting Report.
The United States National Team Development Program has produced a number of top NHL prospects in recent years. This year should be no different, and top-line centre Chaz Lucius is a player who should be highly sought after in this year’s draft class. Lucius played 13 games with the Under-18 squad this year, putting up 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points. He has battled through injuries in this strange COVID altered season, and thus missed the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Despite this, Lucius is expected to be ready for the 2021-22 season. He is committed to playing for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers next year.
In 2019-20 Lucius put up 31 goals and 19 assists for 50 points in 46 games for the US NTDP Under-17 team. He also got a short call-up to the Under-18 team, putting up two assists in six games. Lucius was impressive at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. In six games he scored seven goals and three assists for 10 points, helping the US squad to a silver medal. Lucius led the tournament in goals and points and was named to the All-Star Team.
Chaz Lucius Scouting Report
Centre/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born May 2nd, 2003 — Grant, Minnesota
Height 6’0″ — Weight 172 lbs [183 cm / 78 kg]
Lucius skating is not at the level of other top prospects in this draft but it is not ability either. There are some issues with his stride. It is a bit short and choppy, especially in his turns. This can be improved with a good skating coach. Lengthening his stride would improve his power and speed. He can also improve his first few steps and his acceleration. This will help him to get to loose pucks, get in quickly on the forecheck, and beat defenders off the rush. Lucius’ agility and edgework are good though. He is able to make quick changes in direction. His lateral movement is also very good allowing him to open up shooting and passing lanes. He could stand to improve his core strength, which will help him to be even stronger along the boards and in front of the net.
Lucius is a pure goal scorer. He has a very good arsenal of shots, as he is effective with his wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot, one-timer, and backhand. His shots are accurate and show good power. Lucius has quick hands. He is able to get his shots off extremely quickly. He also has the ability to quickly change the angle on his shot, fooling goaltenders. Lucius also has the ability to score in tight to the net, using those quick hands to elevate the puck quickly and into small open areas. His high-end hand-eye coordination allows him to tip in pucks and to pounce on rebounds. Lucius is a smart player, he finds open spaces on the ice and gets open to receive a pass from a teammate.
Luicus is also a very good stickhandler. He can control the puck in the cycle game, extending plays and waiting for teammates to get open. While more of a goal scorer than a passer, he has good vision and the ability to put the puck through tight areas and to a teammate. Lucius defers to teammates on the rush though. He prefers to give the puck to one of his wingers in the neutral zone and let them make the zone entry. Meanwhile, he finds open space to take a pass for a shot on net, or for a give-and-go style play. He shows good strength and balance in board battles against his age group but needs to get stronger to do it against bigger opponents at the next level.
Lucius could use some work on his defensive game. He can sometimes get caught up the ice and is one of the last forwards back to his own zone. He also can leave the zone early, looking for a long breakaway pass. When he is committed to defence he shows a good stick and the ability to get on the right side of the puck. Lucius’ lack of strength can also be an issue when he supports the defence down low against the cycle game. He is strong in the faceoff circle though.
Projection and Comparison
Lucius has high-end scoring skills that cannot be taught and this makes him an attractive option going into the NHL Draft. However, he is probably a couple of years away from being NHL ready. Playing in the NCAA, he will get time to work on improving his skating, bulking up, and playing better defensive hockey. He has mainly been used at centre to this point in his career, but may be more effective on the wing given the skating and defensive concerns. His game is reminiscent of Derek Stepan, however this is a style comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Chaz Lucius that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next article in our draft coverage.
Chaz Lucius Scouting Report Main Photo:
— Gentry Academy (@gentry_academy) November 12, 2020