2021 NHL Draft Profile: Chaz Lucius

This year, the Chicago Blackhawks own the 11th overall selection in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. Earlier this week we started our annual breakdowns of players the Blackhawks might target with their first pick in the draft. Chicago will have options, but are looking to make an impact on the NHL roster soon.

Thus far we have discussed forward Matthew Coronado. Now, let’s turn our attention to Chaz Lucius.

Chaz Lucius
C
6-1 / 185
U.S. NTDP – committed to the University of Minnesota (NCAA)

Ranked #12 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #9 by TSN/McKenzie
Ranked #6 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #12 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #18 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #12 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #19 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #10 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #14 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #16 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #14 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #12 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #16 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY

From Corey Pronman (The Athletic)

#7 overall prospect
Skating: Below-average
Puck Skills: Above-average
Hockey Sense: Average
Compete: Above-average

“Lucius missed most of the season with various injuries but when healthy he showed what he did in his underage season, in that he could score a lot of goals and drive a team’s offense. Lucius is one of the most purely skilled players in the draft, with elite one-on-one skills and the ability to make defenders miss. He is known for his goal scoring, but he has good vision and can find seams and create in tight areas. His scoring is less due to an elite shot and where he scores. If you saw a heat map for his shots, it’s a big blob in front of the crease. Lucius lacks physicality and defensive value off the puck but he generates a lot of offense by going to the net. His skating is a concern and he will likely not be able to separate at the NHL level. In a sentence, Lucius projects as a strong top-six NHL forward who can be on a top power-play unit in a bumper/net position.”

From Chris Peters’ Hockey Sense

#10 overall prospect
“Missing such a large chunk of the season while recovering from knee surgery and later missing the World U18 Championship after coming down with an illness just prior to the tournament, it was not an easy year for Lucius. When he did play, however, he was mostly dominant. He scored 13 goals in 13 games and even when he didn’t have a great game, he found a way to make an impact – usually on the score sheet. Lucius has a lankier frame that he can continue to build some strength onto, which will make him a bit more effective. But it’s his hand skills that especially stand out. Lucius has an innate ability to make plays to get inside and get to prime scoring areas when he has the puck on his stick. His release is so quick that by the time a defender realizes he has to close in, the shot is away and probably in the back of the net. Sometimes his shift-to-shift competitiveness can wane, but he doesn’t shy away from the tough areas of the ice and if he sees a chance to make a play, he doesn’t wait. I think he’s going to be one of the more entertaining players to come out of this draft, so long as he continues to build strength and bounce back from a season that was largely lost to him due to his injury and illness.”

From LastWordonHockey.com

Skating
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.

Offensive Game
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.

Defensive Game
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.

12 thoughts on “2021 NHL Draft Profile: Chaz Lucius

  • June 24, 2021 at 7:57 am
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    Too many holes to consider another poor skater. They also said Strome s skating could be easily fixed 5 years ago. Latest news has Eichel going to the Ducks.

  • June 24, 2021 at 8:32 am
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    No thank you
    Hawks need speed and defensive skills
    The knee injury will be another negative impact when it’s time to draft him .
    172 pounds on elite prospect

  • June 24, 2021 at 9:10 am
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    Also no thanks – it seems the NTDP centres in past years including Hughes are a little over hyped?

  • June 24, 2021 at 9:38 am
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    pass. can’t skate can’t compete in the nhl today. like my college soccer coach told me. we can refine your running gait somewhat and help you run marginally, very marginally, faster and stronger. we cannot teach you how to be fast. feel pretty confident that applies to skating as well.

    we already have strome and others of his ilk. looking for a good skater, tough guy to play against, and a hagel like motor. even if the skill level is only third liner that is a guy we can use and will make the hawks a better team. and if the skill level is first or second liner all the better.

  • June 24, 2021 at 9:51 am
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    I’m joining the parade – below average skating should be a non-starter for a player selected at #11. Although somewhat subjective, “average skater” should be the minimum requirement with “above average” being preferred.

    Skating can be improved more so than the innate qualities of heart and hockey-IQ, but it’s right up there as a near must-have to be a top flight player.

  • June 24, 2021 at 9:59 am
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    I agree with all the comments above. Can`t take any more chances with our first round picks . Skating is an issue, move on. Can`t afford any projects wit this rebuild and Strome should serve as a warning on skating issues. Bigger and faster unless they`re a Kane or Debrinact.

  • June 24, 2021 at 9:59 am
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    Drafting a player from the NTDP can be tricky..those rosters in past years have had a bit of a ”a rising tide raises all ships” feel to them..does Jake Wise get drafted in the beginning of the third round if he didn’t play on a roster with Zegras, Walstrom, Hughes, Caufield, etc.(and I may be wrong, but wasn’t he also projected as a first round pick before dealing with some injuries in his draft year?)..it may not be an entirely fair comparison since Wise has continued to deal with injuries since going to Boston U and he wasn’t a first round pick..but still, Lucius seems similar-a player who is part of a great program and who is getting a bump in their draft stock because of it, but probably doesn’t bring enough to the table to justify his potential draft position..I think the Hawks need to start focusing on finding elite traits in their draft prospects(whether it’s skating, a propensity to play 200 ft, passing ability, etc..find prospects who have an elite trait relative to their draft contemporaries and start drafting those players when possible)..the last five or six Hawks drafts are littered with guys who, even if they reach their ceilings, probably can’t play in the top six..bottom six role players can be found beyond the draft, but the draft is where you should be looking for an elite skill with every pick..

  • June 24, 2021 at 10:47 am
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    Agree would have to drop to 2nd round and maybe make him a Debrincat type if pick, be only way i see him going to Blackhawks with current picks.

  • June 24, 2021 at 11:01 am
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    Reading all the comments convinced me to take a pass. lol

  • June 24, 2021 at 11:47 am
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    Looks like Dach 2.0
    Weak in the corners and along the boards, no need for any other weak forwards and no need for poor skaters, that’s what the 4th line is for…. wouldn’t pick him in the 2nd either.

  • June 24, 2021 at 1:21 pm
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    From reading all the comments here it sounds like a guy that StanBo is keenly interested in. Like the breakdown on the player.

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