Updated: Jul 15
If the NHL draft ranked players based on their names, Chaz Lucius would most likely be at the top of the list.
He sounds like someone who should be the lead singer of a 1980s rock band.
While it is unlikely he will be topping any of the US Top 40 charts, it is quite possible that he will be a Top 20 prospect in this year's draft.
The six-foot, 178-pound centre could turn into a top line middle man of the future for Calgary and this is a position that proved to be a dire need for the Flames this past season.
An added bonus for Lucius is he shoots right, so whether or not he works out down the middle, his path to the starting lineup is a little less daunting on the right side. Coincidence or not, this is another spot in which Calgary has been dying for since the departure of a man whose jersey hangs in the Saddledome rafters.
Now, like so many players during the pandemic, Lucius had a small sample size during his draft year.
Playing with the USA National Team Development Program, Lucius put up 18 points in 12 games, 13 of those points were goals. Then with the U-18 National Team, he put up 20 points in 13 games, again scoring 13 goals.
With this small sample size, it is safe to say Lucius has the goal-scoring touch.
Like most pure goal scorers, he possesses a quick release, whether it be his wrist shot or slap shot.
His shot might look rather familiar to Flames fans as it looks quite similar to Sean Monahan. Lucius also seems to be a player that gets to the net, playing a north-south style game and his chances come close to the net. He knows where to find the open space and make himself open for those who have the puck.
This is a crucial skill to have in today's NHL and if he can bury his chances in close, he becomes a must-have player for many teams in the league.
His goal scoring shouldn't be the only thing fans look at, as his passing and finding the open man is elite.
When he isn't in the best position to get a shot on goal, he always seems to find who is open and sends them the perfect pass for a Grade A scoring chance.
The mixture of elite passing, along with the knack of putting the puck in the back of the net, can lead to a dangerous player.
Lucius is already a good size for the NHL and there is a chance he could grow a bit more and put on a few more pounds as well.
If fans are hoping he could be someone that would make the team right away and make an impact, they will just have to wait. Lucius has already committed to playing at the University of Minnesota for next season. But a year of collegiate hockey could really push his game to the next level and make him NHL ready.
Chaz does leave a little bit to be desired when it comes to both his two-way game and skating. His stride speed isn't phenomenal and that has led to him not being the proto-typical backchecking centre that has helped guys like Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier, and others make their money. Instead he relies more heavily on his Hockey IQ and puck skills. With a good skating coach there are some pretty simple fixes to his issues. His stride just needs to get a little longer and the overall pace and power will come with it.
This being said Lucius might project as a winger at the next level unless he does some serious work on his stride at Minnesota. Currently his style of play is actually quite similar to the Flames Elias Lindholm. Hes a player that relies more on his positioning than raw speed. With a little more development he could very well develop into a Lindholm Jr. when he makes the jump.
Byron Baders prospecting model isn't super high on him, but if nothing else, the massive increase in NHLe (NHL points equivelancy) leaves a lot to be excited about.
Lucius might be available for Calgary once they pick at 12, as Lucius has been ranked anywhere from nine to 17 on respective draft boards.
Will this be the player the Flames target at the draft, only time will tell.
Make sure to keep reading every day leading up to the draft as we will have more profiles on potential prospects for Calgary.
Photo credit: USAHockeyNTDP