We finally get to the first and only American-born player the team opted to take this year. Cruz Lucius is a product of the American National developmental program and has committed his future to the University of Wisconsin for next year. Again, a prospect that seemed to fall in the draft as Carolina snagged him with the 124th overall pick, in the late fourth round.
At the under 18 world juniors, Lucius put his skill on full display. 2 goals and 6 assists for 8 points in just 6 games in an international tournament against the best players in his age group the world has to offer is a good indication that this is a player with a lot of talent. It can be difficult to evaluate players that come from the USDP but it seems that Lucius has an incredibly high ceiling.
Hurricanes assistant general manager Darren Yorke sighted his shot and his ability around the net as his strong suits. He also hinted at his ability to make players miss as to why the organization was so excited to take him when they had the chance to in the fourth round. While Lucius at this moment doesn’t seem to have the same feel of a steal as some of the other players I have talked about, it doesn’t mean he won’t be.
There’s a lot to like about Cruz Lucius at this moment. He will continue to develop and strive forward in the NCAA with Wisconsin. It never hurts to have someone that has a lot of tools while they are developing. He’s likely not going to be one of the front-line prospects for the Hurricanes, but it is worth just remembering him when talking about some of the guys that have NHL tools and talent.