Photo Credit – Frölunda HC
Lucas Raymond played the bulk of his games this season in the SHL with Frölunda HC. In 33 games, Raymond mustered up four goals and six assists. The point totals might seem on the lower end for a prospect, who most analysts and scouts have as a top five NHL Draft prospect, but you should not be concerned. In Swedish hockey, at the SHL level, players with more seniority get more minutes. Instead of getting top line minutes like his counterparts (Alexis Lafrenière and Quinton Byfield) had in North America, Raymond would get anywhere around 9 to 12 minutes a game and was often placed on the third or fourth line.
Not only did Raymond play in the SHL this season, he also played for Frölunda in the SuperElit and represented Sweden at many international tournaments including the World Juniors.
When you watch Raymond closely, you see just how remarkable he is in every zone. In the offensive zone, he is constantly applying pressure and forechecking. When Raymond is in the neutral zone with the puck, you can expect him to glide up the ice in transition. If he does not have the puck in the neutral zone, Raymond is pressing up against the attacker and blocking his opponent from completing a zone entry. In the defensive zone, Raymond might not apply as much pressure, but his is hovering all over the ice surface and constantly uses his frame to press up against his opponents mid-cycle.
DOB – March 28, 2002
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 5’10″
Weight – 165 lbs
Position – Left Wing/Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Raymond’s Style Of Play
As I mentioned earlier, Raymond is constantly applying pressure. If I had to be direct, Raymond is a pest. He is a pest that you cannot avoid. Terminix can not slow Raymond down. When Raymond has you in his field of vision, he will badger you for the puck. No matter what zone. No matter what situation. Raymond is always in your face and looking to scoop up the puck. In the offensive zone, he will use his stick more than often when applying pressure as he will look to snag the puck with a quick poke-check.
Raymond’s skating is a joy to watch. Instead of relying on a wide stride to get up and down the ice with electrifying speed, he will opt to use his crossovers to help his acceleration. Raymond is able to use his crossovers to gain speed because of how quick he is with his crossovers. Some hockey players are strong with their crossovers, but are not that quick with their feet movement. Raymond is. If Raymond is not utilizing his crossovers to propel him down the ice, he has a wide stride and can speed up the ice without hiccup. While there is a lot to love with Raymond’s skating, the only area that needs slight improvement is his edges. For the most part, he does not struggle with his edges, but every now and then, you will see Raymond lose an edge.
In the defensive zone, if Raymond sees that his defensemen have control of the puck and foresees a breakout coming, he will skate quickly into the neutral zone in order to provide his defensemen with an opportunity for a stretch pass. Raymond thrives when he is gifted a stretch pass in the neutral zone, as he can use his speed to rush past traffic and go one-on-one with the opposing goaltender.
One of Raymond’s most underrated attributes is his puck control. When Raymond has control of the puck, he will not cough it up. His puck control is reminiscent of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner. Like Marner, when Raymond is controlling the cycle he can execute quick tight pivots/turns in traffic and manages to hold onto the puck.
In the offensive zone, Raymond feels at home in the slot. When Frölunda is on the power play, he will park himself to the left of the crease. At even strength, Raymond shifts from the low slot to the high slot and that is dependent on his teammates’ puck movement. If Raymond has possession of the puck in the slot and looks to pass the puck, he will more than likely deliver tape to tape passes. Sometimes, Raymond will deliver a tape to tape pass to the half-wall, switch places with his teammate, collect the puck from his teammate in order to run the cycle and get the puck to the other side of the zone. While his tape to tape passing is in great shape, his one-timer passing can use some development, but that is the only area where his accuracy can be off from time to time.
There is a possibility that when Raymond comes to North America that he could transition from a winger to centre. Recently, Patrik Bexell of SB Nation’s Habs Eyes On The Prize spoke to Frölunda head coach Roger Rönnberg about Raymond potentially being used as a centre in the NHL. In the below tweet, you can check out Rönnberg’s comments.
I believe that Raymond would thrive as a centre in the NHL. Given his speed, skating and defensive awareness, I can not imagine him struggling as a centre. Also, it was not that long ago when fellow Swede, Elias Pettersson made his way to North America and transitioned to centre. With the North American game slightly different than the European style of play, Raymond could thrive at centre. So, if you are a front office member of a NHL team, who wants to draft a centre, do not ignore Raymond. There is untapped potential for Raymond to be a stud at centre.
Mitch Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
stats from eliteprospects.com