Minnesota Wild: Mario Lucia Has A Lot More Than Just a Name


When the Minnesota Wild drafted Mario Lucia 60th overall many people thought he was selected that high because he’s the son of a Minnesota Hockey legend.  Take a closer look and you might ask why he wasn’t drafted higher.

It was certainly thought that when the Minnesota Wild used their 2nd round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft to draft forward Mario Lucia that they only picked him because of his last name.  The son of long-time University of Minnesota Head Coach Don Lucia, Mario was a stand-out player for Wayzata High and scored 30 goals in 27 games his senior year.  Still many wondered if the Wild were drafting Lucia because of his father, or because he was a standout high school player.  If you are one of people who think it was because of his last name, think again.

Lucia is a talent who is bring an outstanding scoring touch and seems to matured very well in his four complete seasons in the NCAA.  His years at Notre Dame were productive as he would be considered one of the best scorers on the team each of his four seasons.  He amassed 61 goals in four seasons that included three trips to the NCAA tournament, and a Gold medal with Team USA at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

After completing his senior year, he wasted no time signing with the Wild and was immediately inserted into the Iowa line up for the team’s final nine games.  You would have thought that Lucia would need some time to get the pace of the AHL game and would more than likely not be a factor in his first couple of games.  He proved that to be wrong as he notched 2 goals and 2 assists in those nine games.  To be an impact that quickly in the professional ranks after coming out of the NCAA is huge and speaks to his possible impact for Iowa’s season and possibly Minnesota for a couple of games next year.

His profile at Hockeys’ Future explains it best when they explain that “His overall game is still developing but Lucia’s shot and his physical makeup suggest he is capable of being a scorer at the pro level.”  Lucia has already started that scoring journey, and Wild fans should be expecting that he will be one of the highest scorers in Iowa next year.  With any luck he might only need one full season in the AHL to be NHL ready, and the Wild will need his scoring for sure.

Next: Expansion Draft First Look

So still think Mario Lucia is just a name?  You should be thinking of him as one of the best young stars among a growing talent base in Iowa.  It will be great to see  what new Iowa Head Coach Derek Lalonde will do with Lucia to grow his game.  One thing is for certain he’s been ahead of the competition at every level he’s been at, and it might take a little longer than other levels but there’s no doubt Lucia will do the same in the AHL and eventually the NHL.