The Winnipeg Jets have selected Chaz Lucius with the 18th overall selection at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The 18-year-old centreman from nearby Grant, Minnesota missed significant time with injury during the 2020-21 season, however, he did managed to put up 13 goals in 13 games with his United States National U-18 squad. He added seven assists for 20 points in in those 13 games.
“Obviously, nobody wants to hear that they are going to have surgery during their draft year,” he said. “But I felt like I really made the most of my time and really became a better player and person for it. So overall I feel like I had a great year and I look forward to proving my ability and skills.”
Although missing most of the season due to injury problems, he continued to show his elite skill and scoring ability when Lucius did play. Not many players in the draft can shoot the puck and find offensive opportunities like Lucius can. An intelligent player who has lacked some skating skills over the past number of years has shown progress in a small sample size this past year.
Coming in at six-feet and 175 pounds, Lucius is committed to the NCAA’s University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, where he will continue to develop his game following time with the United States National Development Program and the United States Hockey League.
“I’m a good teammate, a good leader, I do the right things and play a good 200-foot game,” Lucius said shortly after his selection. “It’s close to home for me, so that’s a plus for sure. (Winnipeg is) a real fun team to watch.”
Although penciled in as a centreman, Lucius has been touted by many to slot in as a winger under different circumstances. In his post-draft availability, Lucius said he models his game and looks up to current Jets’ No. 1 centreman Mark Scheifele.
The Jets own second, third and fifth round picks as the 2021 NHL Entry Draft moves into Day No. 2 on Saturday.