OHL centre Jett Luchanko brings youth, a high motor and a cool name to the 2024 NHL Draft

Photo credit:Luke Durda/OHL Images
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
When it comes to the NHL Draft, there are a lot of factors that scouting departments try to balance. Some players are “high floor” players whose attributes could ensure they’re at least serviceable NHLers. Some players are “high ceiling” players that exist as potential home run swings, but sometimes trend as boom or bust. And some players present really interesting growth opportunities because of their ages.
Guelph Storm centre Jett Luchanko is one of the youngest players in the 2024 NHL Draft class. Not only does he have a fun name, but he’s also a player who features a lot of oomph to his game.

Scouting report

A product of London, Ontario, Luchanko is an August 2006 birthday – the cut-off for being eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft is Sept. 15, so he just made it by a few weeks. He’s a right shot centre listed at 5’11” and 183 pounds.
A first-round pick of Guelph in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, Luchanko became a full-time OHLer the following season and had a breakout campaign in 2023-24. He was named the OHL’s most sportsmanlike player in 2023-24. He’s also represented Canada at the Under-17 Hockey Challenge (capturing silver) and the Under-18 World Championships (capturing gold).
Over at Dobber Prospects, Hadi Kalakeche had this assessment back in February:
Luchanko’s on-ice testing at the CHL top prospects game is making scouts talk, but the projectability of his game is what has seen him crack the first round on Bob McKenzie’s list, among others. We’re not as sold — despite his team-leading 53 points in 48 OHL games — that there’s enough skill to make him worth the first-round bet, but the combination of raw athletic ability, high motor, solid skating and defensive acumen makes Luchanko an easy-to-project player. There’s a role in the NHL as a third-line checking forward in Luchanko’s near future, and for an August birthday, that’s rare.
Writing about Luchanko and Liam Greentree’s performances in a Guelph/Windsor clash (also in February), The Hockey News’ Joely Stockl had this observation of Luchanko’s game:
With Jett Luchanko, it is hard work and compete. Many have compared Luchanko to being the “Easton Cowan” of this year’s NHL Draft — meaning that his game is built off of his compete and complete game.
Luchanko possesses electric speed, and he won a majority of the skating tests at the CHL Top Prospects Game’s on-ice testing. He has furocious compete and he is relentless on the attack. Away from that, Luchanko finds a way to get on the score board.
In March, Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala had this rundown of Luchanko as part of a rundown of the top 50 prospects in the draft:
Luchanko brings more than just offence. He’s a player who can be relied upon in a variety of roles. Listed as a winger, but he plays the majority of his shifts in the middle. On the PP he slots into a role as a quarterback, distributor, shooter, playmaker on the point and leads the breakout. Leans distributor more than shooter, but has an understated and deceptive release with the ability to change the angle of his blade to direct pucks on net. Competes the entire 200 feet. Sturdy strong. Not punishing physically, but also not easy to knock off the play. Very good skater who’s trending up.
Compared to traditional centres, yeah, Luchanko is a bit small at 5’11”. But he’s 17 until August and he already brings a really strong compete level, good skating, and some really reliable skill. Kalakeche described him as a third-line checking forward, but that could be his floor if he can keep building his game.

The numbers

After having 14 OHL points in 2022-23 as a rookie, Luchanko had 74 points in 2023-24. Heck, he had more goals (20) in 2023-24 than he had points the previous season. He posted 20 goals, 54 assists and 74 points over 68 games. Luchanko led Guelph in points. He was tied for 29th in the OHL in that category, and was just outside the top 10 in the OHL in assists. (He added another seven points in seven games at the Under-18 Worlds.)
While Luchanko took a big step, a lot of his production was skewed towards special teams. He had just 39 even strength points, with another two shorthanded and 33 on the power play. For context, only three OHL players had more power play points than he did: Jack Beck, Zayne Parekh and Deni Goure. And while he took more draws than any other Guelph player, he won just 49.7% of them. There’s room for improvement in his game.

Availability and fit

Luchanko projects as a late first-round option for the Flames, potentially with the Vancouver pick from the Elias Lindholm trade. In keeping with the nature of the 2024 draft class – the general perception is there’s a ledge after around 20 or 22, after which point there’s a ton of variation in opinions – Luchanko can be found all over the place in draft rankings. We’ve seen him as high as 18th (McKeen’s) and as late as 47th (FC Hockey). Generally speaking, we’ve seen him a lot in the late 20s, so him being selected by the Flames with Vancouver’s pick wouldn’t been seen as a big reach.
In terms of fit, it would obviously depend on what the Flames do with ninth overall, but he’s a young, toolsy, right shot centre. It’d be great if he was a bit taller or thicker, but you could easily see the Flames’ development staff looking at all the attributes Luchanko brings to the table and going “Yeah, we can work with that.”
Luchanko has a lot to offer. Whether or not the Flames end up nabbing him late in the first round likely depends on who else remains on the table when they head to the podium for the second time.

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