How far will the Rangers get this season?

Draft Profile: Mario Lucia

Mario Lucia (Via

Mario Lucia (Via

The Rangers currently have five defensemen under the age of 28 on their roster and two more top prospects on the way, so it’s very likely New York will be looking to add some offensive firepower with its first-round pick, No. 15 overall in the NHL Draft.

Between now and June 24th, we’ll take a look at some of the forwards that the Rangers might be thinking about taking on draft day.  Today, we look at…

Mario Lucia

HT: 6-2

WT: 183

Pos: LW

Shoots: L

Birthday: 8/25/93

Team: Wayzata, USHS

2009-2010 stats: 15g, 25a, 25gp

2010-2011 stats: 30g, 24a, 27gp

2010-2011 playoffs: N/A profile > 



The Hockey News: 26

CSS: 34 Midterm Rank: 30


TSN: 45 Midterm Rank: 40 

TSN (Craig Button): N/A 

The Scouting Report: 41 Midterm Rank: 49

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch: N/A

Corey Pronman: 40

ESPN: 45


Highlight Reel > 


What They’re Saying:

THN – “There is speculation that Mario Lucia will fast-track his senior year of high school so he can play college hockey next year.  Nobody is sure where that will be, but Lucia has made it clear he won’t play for his father, Don, coach at the University of Minnesota.  Scouts maintain high school players are the toughest to read.  But Lucia helped his case by playing six games for the U.S. under-18 team and performed well.  He has the talent and size to be a legitimate prospect, but scouts are looking forward to seeing him at a higher level.  ‘He’s a bit of a wildcard because he’s got that real big-time upside,’ one scout said.  ‘He’s a hard-working kid, but boy, he’s a neophyte.  You hope he evolves physiologically.’  Lucia does a lot of things well, but he is not outstanding in any one facet of the game.  ‘He’s not going to be a high-end player,’ another scout said, ‘but a really good two-way guy.’”

The Scouting Report – "Draft trends would indicate that there should be one high school player going in the first round this year, and if that holds to be true, Mario Lucia is probably leading the way to be that guy. The son of University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, the younger Lucia remains uncommitted in the NCAA but plans to spend next season with Sioux Falls of the USHL. Lucia is a big, strong center with very good feet for a player of his size. He generates a lot of his offense from his speed and has the ability to make his teammates better players while being a very dangerous player in his own right. As he fills out, it should allow him to become more of an effective offensive forward and use his size to his advantage more often." 

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch – “The son of University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia is arguably the top high school player for the 2011 draft, and as a junior, expected to play in the USHL next year before moving on to the NCAA ranks. He's 6-2 and about 185 and has excellent hockey sense and a real good shot. He was highly productive and looks like he could be a very good player eventually.   ‘I like Mario,’ said Max Giese, Red Line Report scout in the Midwest. ‘He looks like a second-round projection; I've seen nights when he's been dominant and nights when there doesn't appear to be a lot there. He lacks the physical strength and power in his stride, so he's going to take a long time for any team that drafts him." Lucia has the highest upside of any of the high school/prep players in class in our view based on what we're hearing, but if he does crack the 1st round, it would be like Brock Nelson last year- in the final pick or so. As a 31-60 selection, he's a nice option albeit one who will take the long road as Giese mentioned. He scored 30 goals and 54 points in 27 games for Wayzata.’” 

Corey Pronman - "Mario Lucia enters the draft as the top high school prospect this year. While his skating isn't a pro-average tool, he moves very easily with a smooth glide in his step and signs all point to the fact that he can project to move at a pro level in time. His passing skills are decent, but in regards to his puck skills, I see it presently as a fringe tool as he seems awkward and uncoordinated with the puck. He anticipates pressure well, attempts to makes moves to evade pursuers and can see the ice to make the right distributions, but I have a difficult time seeing him doing that effectively at the pro level. Lucia looks like he will be able to score goals, with very good wrist shot mechanics and weight distribution in motion and from a standstill. His shot also comes off with solid accuracy. While listed as a LW, he lined up at RW if his coach sensed an opportunity to get him a shooting chance. His physical game is fair, and at the high school level he succeeded during engagements and screening in front of the net and there was the odd time he was able to level an opponent, but for a big winger his college and future pro team will need him to get a lot of gym hours in. Lucia's hockey sense is very impressive for a high school kid. He showed solid awareness and anticipation that you tend to see in goal-scorers. He consistently comes back to help on defense and covers his checks well."

Minnesota Hockey Prospects – “When you are the son of the Minnesota Golden Gophers coach it's a good bet that you are going to be pretty good, Lucia is just that. He is a tall lanky player that at first sight one would think that he might end up in the first row when he gets bodychecked, but actually, Lucia has good balance and is a good skater. Sees the ice well and is not afraid to control the puck in traffic. Lucia has a good shot and has shown the ability to finish around the net. Demonstrated that he can make tape-to-tape passes that have good velocity. Lucia has a good upside as he continues to put on size and has noticeably has added strength over the past year. Has great potential and should make a solid NHL player in the near future.” 

ESPN – “The top prospect in the Minnesota high-school ranks. Shares the puck with linemates, although he’ll look to use a strong wrist shot. Good work along the boards and in dirty areas of ice. An August 1993 birthday, so he's practically a year behind most of the players on the board, but size is not an issue. And given his age, he's probably still growing.” – “’When Mario Lucia has the puck on his stick, he makes everyone else better,’ Central Scouting's Jack Barzee told ‘When he's got the puck inside the blue line, he's a threat to score or set up a picturesque play … he's that dangerous.’  Barzee went on to say that every top prospect on the board possesses a certain ‘ingredient’ that separates them from the rest of the pack. In the case of Lucia, ‘his greatest gifts are his hands and shot.’  ‘He has a mind for this game, just by the way he passes and how he knows when to shoot,’ Barzee said. ‘If I were to compare him to a recent draft pick from Minnesota, I'd say he's similar to Brock Nelson (Islanders, No. 30, 2010) because he's very smart and responsible.’  At 6-foot-2, 183 pounds, Lucia doesn't possess the typical 17-year-old frame.  ‘He's a dynamic playmaker,’ Wayzata head coach Carl Davis told ‘He protects the puck so well in traffic and uses that size to his advantage. He's a threat coming out of the corners. He works so hard in the weight room -- he's outworked everyone on my team. This young man has a passion to get better and he wants to get to the next level. He's gotten so much stronger this year.’” 

ESPN - “Said one scout who saw him play five times this season: ‘He's a starter kit for a power forward but it's like it is with so many Minnesota kids -- it's a big-time projection because of the level of competition they're in against.  He has great size, a frame that he can build on. He skates well, makes plays, isn't selfish, has hockey sense. He was probably a little more impressive in midseason than at the end. It looks like he's still growing. You'd want to see someone in his position be like Nick Bjugstad last season -- just dominating the competition. Lucia didn't really dominate at any time but he was always at least very good. If you think he's going to be an inch, or an inch-and-a-half taller, he's someone who you might have a look at early, early second round. If someone can say how he's going to turn out he's a better man than me. Some players, it's the toughest projection that there is.’ Be that as it may, if a scout caught him in December, he might have him in the 20-to-30 range.  Stockwatch: Rewards multiple viewing.”




Mock Drafts:

Adam Kimelman, – N/A 

Mike Morreale, – N/A 

Steven Hoffner, – N/A 

Deven Persaud, - N/A – N/A 

Gary Joyce, ESPN – N/A 

Mark Seidel, CBC – N/A 

Hockey's Future - N/A

The Hockey News - N/A


Thoughts: Judging high school players is a near impossible task, but based on everything I’ve seen Lucia would be a huge reach at No. 15.  If he’s available for one of the Rangers’ second-round picks, he might be the type of high-risk, high-reward, player that could be a diamond in the rough.  But at this point he hasn’t played against high level competition and nothing seems to stick out about him as a prospect.  He comes from a hockey family so he’s probably better prepared for what’s ahead of him that the vast majority of high schoolers, but he’s still years away from the NHL.

If the Rangers are sold on a high school kid as they were with Chris Kreider two years ago, they’ve shown that they’re not afraid to use a high draft pick on one.  However, Lucia seems like a huge project, and at No. 15 the Rangers will be hoping to get much more of a sure thing. 


Season Review:

Breaking Down The Defense >

Breaking Down The Goalies >

Breaking Down The Offense >

Breaking Down The Prospects >

How Three Free Agent Signings In 2007 Have Shaped The Eastern Conference >

Spotlight On Glen Sather >

Spotlight On John Tortorella >


Player Reviews:

Spotlight On Mats Zuccarello >

Spotlight On Brian Boyle >

Spotlight On Matt Gilroy >

Spotlight On Ruslan Fedotenko >

Spotlight On Brandon Prust >

Spotlight On Bryan McCabe >

Spotlight On Alex Frolov >

Spotlight On Michael Del Zotto >

Spotlight On Martin Biron >

Spotlight On Brandon Dubinsky >

Spotlight On Marc Staal >

Spotlight On Steve Eminger >

Spotlight On Henrik Lundqvist >

Spotlight On Wojtek Wolski >

Spotlight On Sean Avery >

Spotlight On Dan Girardi >

Spotlight On Erik Christensen >

Spotlight On Ryan McDonagh >


Possible First Round Pick:

Zack Phillips >

Sven Bartschi >

Mark Scheifele >

Mika Zibanejad > 

Mark McNeill >

Brandon Saad >

Joel Armia >

Nicklas Jensen >

Alexander Khokhlachev >

Tyler Biggs >

Matt Puempel >

Rickard Rakell >

Mario Lucia >



Posted by Kevin Baumer | May 28, 2011 at 04:37 pm

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