The 2020 Draft class was a blast, and the 2021 NHL draft should be too. Alexis Lafreniere was the first overall pick for the New York Rangers in ‘20, but who will it be in ‘21? How about we here at Last Word do a 2021 Draft Class Introduction to two names to pay attention to this season: Owen Power and Chaz Lucius.
2021 Draft Class Introductions: Who To Watch This Season
Similar to my first introductions piece, the 2021 draft has better defensemen and lesser forwards compared to the 2020 draft, at least as it stands now. But where there are similarities between the two drafts is the unique names. This year, there’s a Chaz Lucius to that of last year’s Shakir Mukhamadullin. Meanwhile, part of the loaded defensemen group is a guy who takes after his last name, Owen Power.
2021 Draft Class Introductions: Owen Power
Owen Power is a big kid, standing at 6’5 and 209 pounds. Power, who was born on November 22nd, 2002, is a left-shot defenseman from Mississauga, Ontario. He played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL this past season and is slated to play for the University of Michigan this upcoming season. He scored 12 goals and 28 assists for 40 points in 48 games played for the Steel.
Owen Power’s Overall game
Power’s game is not something that will jump off the pages. He is solid in all three zones, but he isn’t particularly a standout in anything. Power is a good skater for his size, possessing good mobility. His skating is more about the power and the length of his stride more than the technical ability and speed, but that’s to be expected with a bigger guy like Power. His offensive game is extremely simple.
To put into perspective how simplified his game is, here’s a stat I gathered. Of Power’s total offensive zone pass attempts in his March 7th, 2020 game against Dubuque, 78.95% were deemed “simple” passes. Simple passes are short passes like sliding the puck across to his defensive partner or a short pass to the near-side winger along the boards. As for his shot attempts, 66.67% came from the point area, with the other 33.33% coming from the perimeter. The perimeter, for those who don’t know, is located outside the face-off dots and below the top of the circle.
Transitional Game and Defense
Transitionally, Power is effective in entering the zone, though he doesn’t get involved a whole lot. Despite that, 57.14% of his entries have come with possession, electing to carry the puck in himself or pass it to a teammate who enters the zone cleanly. As for his breakout success, 50% of his zone exits came with possession, with him passing it up and out to a teammate for all of them. He failed to break it out on 20% of his total zone exits from the game I watched.
Defensively, Power plays a strong game, getting to the dirty areas and using his size to win battles. In fact, he won 83.33% of the battles he got involved in, whether it was along the boards or in front of the net. He did, however, allow 38.89% of the rushes against him to get possession in the offensive zone. That means that he allowed the opposing team into the defensive zone cleanly when they attacked his side of the ice. He also allowed 38.89% of the rushes he faced to be dumped in, which isn’t a negative. What does look bad is the fact that he only broke up 22.22% of the rushes he faced.
Where Power struggles defensively is in allowing cross-ice passes. In fact, there were five cross-ice passes sent right past Power in the one game I tracked. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but they were successful on all five of their cross-ice pass attempts right in front of Power. This is a trend that needs to be monitored as the new season kicks off, but he has to be better at limiting those opportunities. In a way, Power reminds me of Minnesota Wild defenseman, Ryan Suter.
2021 Draft Class Introductions: Chaz Lucius
Chaz Lucius might be my top-ranked prospect when it comes to the coolest names. However, in my first 2021 draft ranking, he clocks in at fifth. Lucius, a 6’0”, 172-pound center, was born on May 2nd, 2002. Hailing from Grant, Minnesota. Lucius played for the US National Team Development Program in the USHL. He also played in the USDP for the U-17 and U-18 squads. In the USHL, however, he posted 8 goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 32 games. For the U-17’s he recorded 31 goals and 19 assists for 50 points in 46 games. In his limited time with the U-18 squad, he posted 2 assists in 6 games. He is currently slated to play on the USNTDP’s U-18 team in 2020-21 before going to the University of Minnesota, where he is committed to play for in the 2021-22 season.
Chaz Lucius Overall Game
Lucius is a goal-scorer if you couldn’t already tell by his raw stats. One of the most apparent things I noticed was his ability to constantly get chances in the slot area throughout a full game. Like with Power, I tracked just one game, and there has been quite some time since this game was played, thus meaning he has grown as a player since this happened. However, the game I tracked was the Gold Medal game versus Russia in the U-17 World Hockey Championship. In that game, he had six shot attempts, and 50% came from the slot area. All those shot attempts from the slot were on net as well.
Overall, however, Lucius plays a very casual and simple offensive game in every other way. His passing stays simple, in the limited times he does move the puck. He was the goal-scorer for his team, so the sample is small. However, his passing accuracy in that game was at 60%, and 80% of his passes were considered “simple” pass attempts.
Transitional Game and Defense
In transition, Lucius doesn’t get very involved. Over the course of the game, he was only involved in two exit attempts. He was successful on both, with possession. He also got involved in just two entry attempts, carrying one in himself and failing to gain entry on the other. This could be due to his lack of creativity and not having a great skating ability. His skating is above-average, but not high-end. This season, I expect to see more involvement, improved skating ability, and more risk-taking, or else he will slide down my rankings.
Defensively, Lucius isn’t the best positionally. But, being the goal-scorer he is, I wasn’t expecting him to be. He doesn’t have to be a game-changing defensive player, or even above average. If he can just position himself better and do a better job of not cheating up ice as often, his defensive game will be good enough. Overall, Lucius is, again, a natural goal-scorer. He must layer his creativity, risk-taking, and passing abilities. If he doesn’t, he has the scoring touch that a lot of teams would love regardless. In a way, he is somewhat similar to Jack Quinn. Not to mention the fact that he is so effective at getting chances in the slot area with relative regularity.
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