We are less than a month away from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (July 23-24), so it’s time to start researching the prospects likely to be selected in the first round. The Columbus Blue Jackets currently hold three picks in that round: #5, #24, and #30 or #31.
Team: USA Hockey National Team Development Program/University of Minnesota
Date of Birth: May 2, 2003
Birthplace: Grant, Minnesota
Ranked #12 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #17 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #12 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #12 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #9 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #9 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #15 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #12 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #10 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #11 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #16 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #14 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #12 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #16 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Games Played: 12
Lucius is a high-end offensive talent, and is potentially the best pure goal scorer in his draft class. He can score a variety of different ways: wrist shot, snap shot, one-timer or backhand. Lucius is not afraid to play in the dirty areas and his stick-handling skills should translate into lots of goals in tight. His maturity and hockey sense are off the charts – so much so, a former coach compared him to Tom Brady in terms of his mindset and how he approaches the game. He is described as being all business when it comes to hockey and is a “24/7 guy,” which is something that cannot be taught.
Lucius is committed to play hockey at the University of Minnesota next season. He will most likely spend the next year or two playing college hockey where he will be able to work on his skating and defensive game, in addition to getting stronger. Lucius did miss significant time this year after knee surgery for a bone lesion, but was able to make enough of an impression in his limited playing time to be considered a first round pick.
It only takes one GM to fall in love with a player, but judging by rankings alone, it would seem to be somewhat of a reach for the Jackets to select him at #5. If the Jackets like Lucius enough, they absolutely have the ammunition to pull off a trade to acquire a pick in the 9-12 range, where Chaz is most likely to go. He is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft class, and if not for his injury and limited sample size, he would definitely be in consideration at #5.
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. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
“Although Lucius’ game is spearheaded by a lethal shot, my viewings of him assure me that he is not a “zero-calorie scorer”; instead, Lucius shows an alluring mix of skill and strength to go with his goal-scoring ability, and should warrant a top-15 in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft. If a team can hone his skating and render it a strength rather than a weakness, he could turn into one of the top goal-scorers of this draft and earn a long, fruitful career as a top-six center.” – Hadi Kalakeche, Dobber Prospects
One source put it to me like this: “A lot of kids can shoot the puck hard but he can shoot the puck in traffic, and through sticks and feet, and consistently get the shot off and through. That’s one of those skills that the elite goal scorers have.” -Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Lucius can work the one- and two-touch snapshot with power and precision. He can send the puck on net with a deceptive, downward force-loaded wrist shot. His vision is great. If someone’s open, Lucius is going to find them, and he’s going to get them the puck. He reads his teammates so well, anticipating developing plays, and timing his manoeuvres accordingly. -EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Should the Jackets select Chaz Lucius?
This poll is closed
Yes, take him at #5
Trade back, and take him a few spots later
Acquire another pick from Seth Jones trade to select Lucius