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Lucas Raymond: 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Profile | A Gamebreaking Winger Out of the SHL

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Lucas Raymond is a winger from out of the SHL who could be one of the very best playmakers in this draft? Could he be a difference-maker for whatever team takes him in the top-10?

2020 IIHF World U20 Championship, quarter-finals: Sweden vs Czech Republic Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

Who is Lucas Raymond?

Lucas Raymond is a Swedish winger out of the SHL who has been highly touted in draft circles for a while. Born in Goteborg, Sweden on March 28, 2002, Raymond has played his whole career in his home country, advancing through the ranks of the Frolunda HC system over the past half decade. Raymond dominated every level of junior that he visited on his way up, culminating with his first breaking into the SHL for 10 games at just 16 years old in 2018-19. This past season, Raymond spent most of the season with the Frolunda SHL club at just 17 years old, putting up 10 points (4g, 6a) in 33 games in the third or fourth best men’s league in the world. A rundown of his stats from Elite Prospects up to this point in his career is shown below.

Stats via Elite Prospects

At age 16, Raymond dominated Sweden’s top level of juniors, putting up 1.3 points per game and leading all U17 players in scoring rate (just ahead of likely fellow top-10 pick Alexander Holtz and possible late first-round selection Zion Nybeck). He also had a strong performance at U18 worlds (not long after his 17th birthday), putting up 8 points (4g, 4a) in 7 games an helping lead Sweden to U18 gold. In 2019-20 as a 17-year old, Raymond quickly jumped to the SHL, where he played most of the season for Frolunda HC and put up 10 points as one of the league’s youngest players (second among U18s behind Holtz). Raymond also performed well as the youngest player on Sweden’s bronze-medal U20 World Juniors team.

At 5’-10” and 165 pounds, he isn’t a towering presence on the ice, but he seems to hold his own despite being on the smaller end of the spectrum. His speed and playmaking are the hallmarks of his game and while he is best known for his talent with the puck, his game on the wing doesn’t seem to have a ton of holes. His passing and creativity with the puck get the most praise, but he can also take it himself and score using his speed to get separation and a quick release to find the net. Raymond also gets praise for the tenacity of his game and he can create havoc on the forecheck in addition to making strong plays in the offensive zone. Overall, he could end up being a gamebreaking first-line winger for whichever team selects him in the top-10.

Where is Lucas Raymond Ranked?

Raymond slots comfortably into the middle of the top-10 in most of the current available draft rankings. Often tied to his fellow U18 SHL counterpart Alexander Holtz when people try to figure where he slots in, but whether he goes before or after his fellow Swede, he’s almost certain to be off the board in the single digits based on the rankings. A rundown of his rankings from some of the major sources is below.

  • #4 — McKeen’s Hockey
  • #5 — ISS
  • #6 — HockeyProspect.com
  • #4 — Future Considerations
  • #6 — The Draft Analyst
  • #3 — EliteProspects.com

What Others Are Saying About Lucas Raymond

There are plenty of good things to read about Lucas Raymond, who, as mentioned earlier, has been dominating the lower levels of Swedish hockey for a while. First, we’ll see what Elite Prospects says about him on his profile page:

A very well-rounded and highly skilled winger. Raymond is blessed with exceptional hockey sense. Furthermore, he has terrific hands, great speed and fine work ethic. Plays with plenty of intensity and battles hard for the puck. A nightmare to play against with his forechecking and puck-stealing ability. He also plays a strong two-way game and is a capable penalty killer.

That partially-excerpted blurb is from 2018, so it’s not the most up-to-date, but much of it is still echoed elsewhere. Speed, playmaking, and intensity do not seem to be traits that are in doubt for the young Swede. Doubtful that Raymond has saw much PK time in the SHL this year, but at least at lower levels he did have that element of his game too.

Elsewhere, we go to Steve Kournianos at The Draft Analyst, who sings the common praises about Raymond’s playmaking, but also touts strength that compensates for his slightly below-average sized frame, and a dangerous shot to go with that speed, agility, and passing:

Although he isn’t big in the classic sense, Raymond has tremendous upper-body strength for his size, and it is quite common to see him power through hits or shoves from bigger, stronger defenders. Once he’s free, Raymond keeps his head up and maintains control of the puck, surveying the entire offensive zone for the option with the best chance to score. If he’s tightly checked, Raymond can drop a rapid directional change on a dime, especially in the middle of the ice near the prime scoring areas. Making matters worse for opponents is his shot — much like national teammate Alexander Holtz, Raymond can sling a bullet of a wrist shot that is labeled for the either corner. He seems partial to the wrister, but his crisp tic-tac-toe passing abilities generate give-and-go scenarios with the end result being a hammerblow off the pass.

The whole profile is worth a read as it digs into a lot of the best aspects of Raymond’s game and his versatility/ability to beat opponents in a number of ways.

At Dobber prospects, they like Raymond as a prospect but noted that his season in the SHL this past year was only really okay, at least relative to the very high expectations:

Raymond has mostly played at the SHL level this season but he hasn’t managed to get much of a role on a stacked Frölunda team. Raymond has four goals and nine points in 29 games which is definitely not bad but not great either. But he has done that while averaging just 10:13 of ice time. He has averaged just 55 seconds of power play time per game but has still managed to score three points on the power play.

Dobber also has a very good in-depth breakdown of one of Raymond’s games in the SHL, where their analyst comes away with the following conclusion, part of witch is a bit at odds with Kournianos’ description, at least as it relates to strength:

Lucas Raymond is an extremely skilled player who has a pro-ready skill set but seems to lack the strength to utilize it at all times. Raymond may have a top-3 ceiling in relation to his draft class but he may also be less pro-ready in terms of strength than others. He is an elite-level skater and has hands that can keep up with his feet. Raymond reads and understands the play at a high-level and ensures that he is in constant movement in the offensive zone. Raymond takes unique lines around the ice, specifically in transition and while set up in the offensive zone. This constant movement draws defenders away from assignments and creates passing and shooting lanes that help create opportunities for himself and his teammates. With a bit of physical maturity and development, Raymond will be able to take advatage of the speed and agility of his game.

For one more perspective, we go to Prospects Pipeline, where they had this (and more) to say on Raymond:

When it comes to Raymond’s strengths, there are plenty. Above all else, however, is Raymond’s raw creativity when in possession of the puck. Completely unpredictable and willing to take risks in order to generate scoring opportunities, Raymond can execute high-risk passes with relative ease and is more than willing to experiment new plays on the fly and regardless of the on-ice situation. Yet, with this being said, every risk which Raymond takes is calculated.

A lot of the best players are the ones who often take unorthodox approaches to plays and constantly work to subvert the expectations of opposing defenders, so that definitely tracks with a lot of the other profiles out there for Raymond.

A Little Video

Here’s a highlights package of Raymond along with a full scouting report from YouTube channel Draft Dynasty. It’s a nicely put together video and covers Raymond’s 2019-20 season well, though it laments that the limited role he played on his SHL team (around 10 minutes a night) does limit the ability to fully scout his SHL time:

There is also this video put together by Steve Kournianos that showcases a lot more of Raymond’s wow moments throughout the past couple years, including his dominating performance at the U18 Worlds (including the golden goal from the final, which starts around 2:30).

An Opinion of Sorts

Lucas Raymond certainly looks like a player with the ability to make a big difference for a team at the next level. His ability to misdirect and outmaneuver opponents along with great passing ability and a quick release makes him the type of player who can become an elite winger at the next level. While his numbers in the SHL are perhaps not wow-inducing for a player with his pedigree, they are still good, particularly when you take into account some very limited ice time. There are a couple players outside of the Alexis Lafreniere/Quinton Byfield I’m a bit more partial to at the moment, but the Devils landing Raymond on draft day, whenever that does arrive, would be a big step forward for the future of the organization. With the way that he can make plays, he’d be a fun player to watch alongside one of Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.

Your Take

What are your thoughts on Lucas Raymond? Where does he fit into your top 10 right now? Are there reasons you like him above others? Are there reasons you would like to stay away from him? Sound off with your thoughts below and thanks for reading.