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Griffin Luce 2016 NHL Draft Profile

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I'm not sure there's ever been another player that I've seen play as many times as I've seen Griffin Luce that I had less of an opinion on. It's not that I have a bad opinion, mind you. He's just not a guy you really notice in the normal course of play, and even when focusing in on him, there's not a lot of really good or really bad to form a solid opinion on. On one hand, he's a very complete, all-around defenseman that can do just about anything you want him to, but on the other hand, there's no real area you can point to and say, "That's why he's going to be a very good NHL player'.

Player: Griffin Luce

Team: US NTDP U18

Position: Defenseman

Height: 6'3"  Weight: 214 lbs.

Shoots: Left

Stats: 64 games, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points

Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 70th among North American skaters

What I Like:

-Physical edge

Luce is a big, strong defenseman and he uses his size well. He doesn't step up in open ice and make huge, bone-crushing hits, but he finishes checks hard enough to make the opposition feel it, and doesn't let the opposition take ice in the prime scoring area without making them pay a price.

-Smart player

Luce is the son of recently fired(though soon to have multiple similar job offers as soon as the Draft is over) Florida Panthers director of player personnel Scott Luce. That strong hockey background shows in the details of Luce's game. He makes a variety of smart little plays like setting subtle little picks to create open space for teammates or using the back boards to get a shot around a shot blocker and to the front of the net.

What I Don't Like:

-Lack of an elite skill

Luce checks off just about every box on a scouting report with a 'Good' or 'Average', but there's not really any one single area that you would describe as 'Great'. NHL jobs are in scarce supply and it usually takes at least one elite-level skill for a player to play at that level. It can be frustrating to watch because he looks so close to being an elite player, but just always leaves you wanting more from him.

Draft Projection:

Central Scouting puts him in the third round, though I think a rough showing at the World U18s when he saw his ice time limited probably moves him further down the board. I've got him in the fourth round, and it's tough to see him going much higher or lower than that, unless someone decides to reach on account of his last name.

Pro Projection:

Luce has the big pro-style frame and there's always the chance the light could go on for him at the University of Michigan, but at this point, the ceiling for Luce would seem to be 'serviceable NHL defenseman'. He projects as a guy that's good enough to get into the line-up, but not really play major minutes or make a big impact on the game.