2020 NHL Draft Recap: Red Wings Make a Splash with Lucas Raymondby Dom Lunardo October 14, 2020 0 comments
When the National Hockey League conducted its annual draft lottery, the Detroit Red Wings were awarded the fourth overall selection at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The 2019/20 campaign resulted in the Wings posting a league-worst 17-49-5 record through 71 games. Fans in the Motor City were anything but pleased after their worst season in almost 25 years. Last Tuesday, Kris Draper announced the selection of Lucas Raymond with the pick. Who is Raymond, what can Detroit expect from him, and why were they so keen on selecting him?
Lucas Raymond: The Player
Born and raised in the hockey hotbed of Gothenburg, Sweden, Raymond is one of the most talented players of his class. In fact, aside from Alexis Lafrenière, he is considered by some to be the best winger by a wide margin. A three-zone player with an extensive tool kit, Raymond is going to be welcomed with open arms in Detroit as one of the most elusive talents in the organization.
Raymond is a very intelligent player who can read and react to on-ice occurrences at an elite level for an 18-year-old. He likes to make his presence felt and plays a clean and effective game each time he steps on the ice. Listed as just 5’11 and 170 pounds, he is a very strong skater who loves to play a north-south game. The “super-Swede” is creative, and his direct style of play is surely something to marvel at. The Wings and their passionate fan base (which has had little to cheer about over the past few seasons) should be licking their chops at the thought of Raymond donning the iconic Detroit sweater.
Raymond has plied his trade in Sweden since he was 14 years of age. He played for Frölunda HC at the Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, and Under-20 levels before making the club at the highest level in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). As a member of the first-team playing against grown men, Raymond held his own. Over the course of 48 games (spanning three separate seasons), he tallied eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. This is a teenager playing in Sweden’s highest division against players 10-15 years his senior.
This past season also saw Raymond outfitted in the famous yellow and blue of Team Sweden at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. During that time, he scored four points in seven games and was one of the best overall players in the tournament. On junior hockey’s grandest stage, Raymond showed poise, good use of the puck, and consistent playmaking ability in a best-on-best. If that tournament was any indication, Raymond will be showcasing many of these skills and others in the National Hockey League in no time.
Although he is likely ready for the rigors of the pro level, there are some underlying factors that Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman will have to consider when it comes to Raymond. Do the Wings want to rush him into the league, given the team’s current rebuilding status? Also, how will professional leagues in both Europe and North America adapt to COVID-19? A young talent like Raymond will need to play each and every day, be it in the NHL, Grand Rapids (Detroit’s AHL affiliate club), or back in Sweden. Many other factors will have to be considered to decide the best trajectory for one of the crown jewels of Hockeytown.
The Red Wings have been searching for a stud winger for a while now… they certainly found it in Raymond.
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