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Luke Osburn – 2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile – Hockey Writers – NHL Entry Draft

Luke Osburn

2023-24 Team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Date of Birth: Sep. 9, 2006
Birthplace: Plymouth, Michigan
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 172 pounds
Toys: L
Position: D
NHL Draft Eligibility: Eligibility for the first year of 2024


It can be easy to overlook a guy who doesn’t put up a lot of points in his draft year. Take Luke Osburn, defenseman for the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Youngstown Phantoms, for example. A rookie this season, he put up only eight goals and 23 points in 60 games. Not only is that the 11th highest total on the team, but two other U18 defenders have surpassed him. For a player described as an attacking, mobile defender, that doesn’t give scouts much confidence in his abilities.

Related: 2024 NHL Draft Guide

However, there is more than meets the eye to Osburn. First of all, he is one of the youngest players in the 2024 NHL Draft; if he had been born six days later, he would have been eligible for the 2025 draft. That gives him a big loss in terms of strength and expression, so seeing him stick with his team and even claim USHL’s Defenseman of the Week honors in early March is a promising sign.

Then there’s Osburn’s skill set. The obvious at first is his skating. He is a strong, smooth, forward and backward skater, and uses a long stride and good edge to match the speed of forwards and quickly close gaps. While not an overly aggressive defender, he thrives on the offensive end, using his strong skating and smart stick placement to eliminate many options for his opponents. Few rookie defenders are as efficient as Osburn when it comes to limiting scoring threats and rebounding possessions, and much of that is due to his swing.

Hockey Writers 2024 NHL Entry Draft Guide (Hockey Writers)

In addition to his superior skills, Osburn is also a very intelligent defender. When defending against an opponent, he extends his stick and positions himself low to cover as much ground as possible. Then, when the attacker tries to make a move, he is ready to finish the play and release the puck to an open teammate. He’s calm under pressure and rarely gets fooled by the deke, which doesn’t give opponents many options around him.

When moving the puck, Osburn is always mobile and displays a well-refined technique rarely seen in a player his age, let alone a defenseman. He can handle pucks while picking up speed, which allows him to control the play. He is also a good puck handler, and combined with his quickness, he can pull off moves that defensemen rarely attempt. There is a lot of deception and quickness in his movement of the puck, which has earned him comparisons to Lane Hutson. He can be very dangerous with the puck, and while he can handle it excessively at times, few prospects in the USHL can do what he can.

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Despite his lack of production, there is little wrong with Osburn’s game. One area that needs improvement is his lack of strength, which limits his ability to effectively shut down opponents. He can hold his own most of the time, but he doesn’t have the physical edge to make him a dangerous dual defender. He’s committed to the University of Wisconsin in 2026-27, so that shouldn’t be a huge concern, but he’s definitely one of the bigger projects in the 2024 draft class.

Some Profiles Are Under Construction

Luke Osburn – NHL Draft Projection

Although Osburn has yet to find his way onto many draft boards, those who have evaluated him rank him very high. There’s a chance he could end up in the second or third round as he’s a visible defenseman that NHL teams can’t stand. However, there’s a good chance he’ll find himself picked in the middle of the draft, as he doesn’t quite have the size that NHL teams are looking for in defensemen.


“He is a mobile defender, he likes to join the chasers, he has attacking skills that are very well put together at the moment and he has a lot of untapped potential. I think, for Luke, the way he’s grown as a player and his attention to detail and training is something we’re very happy about and an NHL team should be happy about, too. Luke made a lot of progress and was probably our most improved defender and a lot of that comes from his attitude, his work ethic, and how he gets along with his teammates in the locker room.” – Ryan Ward, coach of the Phantoms

“Osburn is close to where we left him in Youngstown. The USHL playoffs weren’t kind to him as the Phantoms tried to split the ice time between all 3 pairings, however, Osburn stood out in the minutes he played. The confidence that Osburn displayed was truly amazing. The offensive mindset he committed to late in the regular season began to show more often but rarely came at the expense of his defensive work. Unlike his USHL counterpart John Mustard, Osburn’s game comes from the details. His ability to constantly keep his feet moving, read routes and slide passes in motion are among the most impressive feats the draft has to offer. With Osburn likely to be back in Youngstown next year, look for him to use more of his craft as he continues to focus on the pace of USHL play. ” – David Saad, Dobber Prospects

“His awareness of the ice is excellent, especially defensively on the run, stopping the break after break on both lines with cool, patient and intelligent gap control and quick thinking passing back and forth on the ice. In fact, he has the strongest completion metrics of the quarterbacks I’ve tracked this year. There are some bad moments with the puck in terms of finishing, but the views he sees are very good. He needs to be really strong, especially in front of the net as he can work hard and lose energy, but there are many opportunities. The footwork near the blue line and the wrist are slowed down a bit, but he needs to be a better distributor in the offensive zone to open up an offense that seems to be bubbling underneath. Regardless he brings a lot to the table, and I feel like he’ll only get better as the years go by, and a smart, patient team will be greatly rewarded for the foresight with Osburn. ” – Is Scouch, Scouching


  • A well-developed intellect
  • A very good skater
  • Holding on

Under Construction – Improvements To Be Made

  • It needs to add strength
  • Can handle the puck
  • A long time to reach the NHL

NHL Power

Right now, Osburn looks like he could be a key defender, providing strong defensive pressure and some offensive upside. However, he started scoring late in the season, collecting six points in three games in March and seven points in the last 11 games. To me, that shows a blossoming offensive game that should come full circle next season and can be a two-way defenseman in the NHL.

Risk – Reward Analysis

Risk- 3/5, Reward 4/5

The Power of Fantasy Hockey

Offense- 6/10, Defense 6/10


  • 2024 USHL All-American Game invitee
  • USHL Player of the Week – March 4, 2024

Luke Osburn Statistics


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