With the No. 15 overall pick in the SBN NHL Mock Draft, which wasn’t traded in a hypothetical trade for Jack Eichel, the New York Rangers select Chaz Lucius.
Here is how the mock draft went before the Rangers were up.
1. Owen Power - BUF
2. Matthew Berniers - SEA
3. Dylan Guenther - ANA
4. Luke Hughes - NJ
5. William Eklund - CBJ
6. Mason McTavish - DET
7. Kent Johnson - SJS
8. Simon Edvinsson - LAK
9. Brandt Clarke — VAN
10. Fabian Lysell — OTT
11. Jesper Wallstedt — CHI
12. Cole Sillinger- CGY
13. Aatu Räty - MIN
14. Corson Ceuelemans - DAL
Who is Chaz Lucius?
Lucius is a 6’0”, 172-pound center committed to the University of Minnesota, and spent the 2020-21 campaign split between the US National U-18 team, and the US National Development Program Juniors team in the USHL. At both levels he scored 13 goals, with his total line in the USHL being 13-5-18 in 12 games, and 13-7-20 in 13 games with the National Team.
EP Rinkside describes Lucius as a high-octane offensive player that’s a threat with the puck from anywhere in the offensive zone, and someone with crafty hands and a quick release to make himself a goal-scoring weapon. He isn’t the strongest of skaters, but that’s not exactly something that the Rangers have overlooked when draft players in the past. That and there could be a reason for his poor skating, but more on that in just a bit.
In terms of ranking among prospects, Lucius has been as low as No. 9 on the list of Bob McKenzie and McKeen’s Hockey, and as high as No. 17 on Elite Prospects. With the Rangers picking at No. 15 overall, if Lucius is available they’d be picking someone well within range.
The center position is an area of long-term need for the Rangers, and Lucius would very much fit the profile of players they’ve taken in the past. One thing of minor concern for Lucius is that he had surgery last August on his knee.
Making matters more precarious with Lucius, and perhaps the biggest X factor with him, is the serious knee surgery and recovery that he went through within the past year. He had pain in his left knee two seasons ago, underwent surgery last summer, and then resumed play this past year as soon as he was recovered enough to do so, in the winter. The situation begs different questions: Lucius wasn’t considered a particularly good skater before his surgery, but how much of that was due to pain that he was experiencing then? Is his knee fully fixed now, leading to the possibility that he can add a lot more speed and explosiveness to his skating? Is there a risk of the knee problem flaring back up again in the future?
Lucius felt good in his return to the ice, and is someone that could have been much higher in rankings had he not been injured.
Lucius scored at least one goal in 10 of his 13 games.
‘He was impressive from the get-go,’ Central Scouting senior manager David Gregory said. He had an impact in the first games he was back, which was significant considering how long the layoff was.
He possesses a very good hockey IQ and compete level. Has an NHL-ready shot and release. He likely could have been ranked higher on our list and have an opportunity to be picked in the top 10 had he been able to have a complete season.’
With that said, this is just one mock draft, and there’s still a chance in the real draft the Rangers deal their pick in an effort to add an impact piece or move back to pick someone else and add some extra picks. I’m by no means a prospect expert, but Lucius feels like he’d be a decent pick for the team, and could help address some of the things the organization lacks.
How would you feel about this pick? Would you trade back for someone else? Feel free to let us know in the comments section.