A challenger for the best name of the 2021 NHL Draft (along with Cam Whynot), Chaz Lucius started playing hockey a lot later than many of his peers in the draft. Originally enrolled in basketball in his youth (his mother played NCAA basketball), Lucius took to the ice when he was eight and never looked back. His younger brother Cruz (also a great name) is NHL draft-eligible in 2022.
Lucius put up electrifying numbers with his U-15 team two seasons ago — an astonishing 39 goals and 62 points in 13 games. He joined the US National Team’s Development Program’s U-17 team the following year and was one of two 50-point scorers last season (Sasha Pastujov being the other, of course).
A member of USA’s U-17 team at the World Hockey Challenge last November, Lucius led the Americans in scoring with seven goals and ten points in six games and to a silver-medal finish. Lucius was called up to the U-18 team at the end of this season and likely would have joined that team at the U-18 World Championships had they not been cancelled.
Though a natural center, Lucius did play down the middle with the U-17s. He shifted to the wing for the six games he spent with the U-18s. It’s likely that he’ll resume duty at center next season when the rest of his age group moves up to join him.
Lucius is an electrifying goal scorer, combining excellent hands with an even better shot. He can get high-danger shots off from anywhere on the ice, including off the rush, and with a wicked release, Lucius doesn’t need much time or space to unleash the puck. Lucius’ offensive instincts are off the charts and he knows exactly where he needs to be on the ice to capitalize.
His playmaking abilities aren’t spoken enough of — Lucius knows where his teammates are on the ice, and when he can feed them cleanly, he will. The dynamic forward creates and dictates play every time he steps onto the ice. Lucius is equally as involved in his own zone as he is in the offensive zone, using his instincts and vision to disrupt opponents and turn play up the ice.
The one knock on Lucius at the moment would be his skating, but it’s not a huge issue that could hold him back at higher levels. Lucius’ skating is agile and he has smooth edges, but adding more explosiveness to his acceleration would make him an even more dangerous offensive creator off the rush.
Strengths: Shot, Vision, Offense
To Improve: Skating
As the unique scoring line suggests, Lucius will be an interesting, and possibly divisive prospect in his draft year. His overall 200-foot game is not spectacular, and he doesn’t create a lot of offensive opportunities for himself or others, but he is excellent at getting himself into good positions to score, can shoot the puck well, and has excellent hands in tight areas to make plays near the goal. [SBN College Hockey]
One of the top 2003-born players in the United States, Lucius is a complete player for at his age. So smart with and without the puck, Lucius always seems to be exactly where he needs to be, making him able to find passes and teammates quite easily. Lucius doesn’t lose many 1-on-1 puck battles and his speed makes him dangerous... You want to see a special American talent? You have it in Chaz Lucius. [The Hockey News]
In Lucius, we have an elite goalscorer who finds ways to produce all over the offensive zone. His shot is lethal and his hands are filthy. He is a good skater and showed the ability to keep up when playing with the U18 team for the NTDP. [Dobber Prospects]
Chaz Lucius strikes for the U17s after a nice setup from Devine and Straky. Including pre-season games, Lucius has 11G and 0A over 7GP. An interesting stat line there.— TPEHockey (@TPEHockey) October 5, 2019
Lucius is a top 10 prospect for the #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/zc1RlNeMep
Chaz Lucius has tallied 13 goals so far this season, but the future Golden Gopher does more than just put the puck in the net.— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) October 26, 2019
Here he makes a nice play to create the turnover and also a scoring chance for the U17s. #NTDP #PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/Bo3WkY5KqO
Statistics from Elite Prospects and USA Hockey.