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NHLCS releases Preliminary Players to Watch List

By Peter Odney , 10/27/20, 12:45PM CDT

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The initial list features 18 Minnesota natives, including one with an A rating, indicating that they could be a first-round draft pick.


Chaz Lucius (51) is the lone A-rated Minnesotan prospect in the NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Players to Watch list.

18 Minnesotans make initial list


Luke Levandowski, a Wisconsin verbal commit, is one of four Minnesota natives to earn a B rating on initial list.

NHL Central Scouting has released its initial Watch List of the 2020-2021 season, featuring 31 players that have an A rating, indicating that they are potential first-round draft picks. 

Out of those 31, one is a Minnesota native, Chaz Lucius. Lucius is a product of the Gentry Galaxy AAA program based in Vadnais Heights, Minn., who now plays for the United States National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team. A gifted goal-scorer, Lucius led the NTDP U-17 team in scoring last season with 31 goals and 50 points in 46 games.

Collegiately, the University of Michigan led the way with five verbal commits in the top 31 players. Forwards Matthew Beniers, Kent Johnson, Mackie Samoskevich, and defenders Owen Power and Luke Hughes have all verbally pledged to the Wolverines. 

Among the Minnesota schools, the University of Minnesota has five players on the list, while Minnesota State has one in Japanese phenom Yusaku Ando. St. Cloud State places one on the list in Grand Rapids defenseman Jack Peart. Lucius, Mittelstadt, Tristan Broz, Jake Ratzlaff, and Phoenix, Ariz. native Matthew Knies make up the Minnesota verbals. 

Four Minnesotans are rated as B prospects, who are projected as second and third-rounders. Tristan Broz racked up 32 goals and 62 points for Blake during the 2018-2019 season before making the jump to the USHL with the Fargo Force last year. The Bloomington native had 14 goals and 35 points last season in 48 games with the Force. 

Janicke led Maple Grove in scoring as a freshman during the 2018-2019 season with 20 goals and 54 points, helping the Crimson to the Class AA, Section 5 finals before falling to Blaine in the section title game. Rosemount’s Luke Levandowski paced the Irish with 51 points last season, and Luke Mittelstadt recorded 32 points as a defenseman while helping Eden Prairie to a runner-up finish at the 2020 Class AA State Tournament.

Levandowski is listed as playing for the Chicago Steel of the USHL in the Central Scouting report, while Mittelstadt is listed as playing for Eden Prairie High School. 


Maple Grove native Justin Janicke is listed as a B prospect in NHL Central Scouting's first watch list of the 2020-2021 season.

Player Position NHLCS Listed Team NHLCS Rating College Commitment
Chaz Lucius Forward NTDP-U18 A Minnesota
Tristan Broz Forward Fargo (USHL) B Minnesota
Justin Janicke Forward NTDP-U18 B Notre Dame
Luke Levandowski Forward Chicago (USHL) B Wisconsin
Luke Mittelstadt Defense Eden Prairie High School B Minnesota
Cade Ahrenholz Forward Lakeville South High School C Colorado College
Jackson Blake Forward Chicago (USHL) C North Dakota
Jacob Jeanette Forward Waterloo (USHL) C N/A
Kyle Kukkonen Forward Maple Grove High School C Michigan Tech
Griffin Ludtke Forward Sioux City (USHL) C Nebraska-Omaha
Henry Nelson Defense Maple Grove High School C Notre Dame
Joe Palodichuk Defense Hill-Murray C Wisconsin
Landon Parker Forward East Grand Forks High School C N/A
Jack Peart Defense Fargo (USHL) C St. Cloud State
Joey Pierce Defense Hermantown High School C Minnesota-Duluth
Jake Ratzlaff Defense Green Bay (USHL) C Minnesota
Jack Reimann Forward Blaine High School C N/A
Bennett Schimek Forward Sioux City (USHL) C Providence

Landon Parker of East Grand Forks netted 24 goals and added 28 assists for 52 to lead the Green Wave in scoring last season.

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