Know The Name: Lucas Raymond



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With the 2020 draft season rapidly approaching and excitement for this years class being at an all time high, it is important we examine some of the prospects who will be making names for themselves this year.

For the next installment in our "Know The Name" series, we will be profiling crafty Swedish winger Lucas Raymond.

Lucas Raymond is truly a spectacular player. He does almost everything at an elite level and is always a dominant force when he steps on the ice. The #2 spot for the 2020 draft is pretty wide open and Raymond has just as good a chance at grabbing that spot as Quinton Byfield.

We think Raymond has the potential to be a superstar in the NHL and here's why:



Scouting Report:


The first aspect of Raymond's game we're going to take a closer look at is his skating. Like I said before, Raymond does almost everything at an elite level, this includes his skating. His stride is so fluid and he can change gears in an instant.

Watch as Raymond displays his speed and zone entry abilities as he takes the puck from end to end on the power-play:


One aspect of Raymond's game I can truly appreciate is how his hands match his feet.

Watch in this next clip as he effortlessly gets from the defensive zone to the offensive zone and pulls off a slick inside move to create a scoring chance:


Raymond is very good at maintaining control of the puck at high speeds and making plays off the rush as a result of his skating. Even with four Slovak defenders closing in on him Raymond is still able to get a solid grip on his stick and a quick shot on goal. This is something I love seeing in a young prospect and bodes well for his future as he transitions to professional hockey.

Raymond is able to effectively use his skating and quick strides to put tons of pressure on the defense while fore-checking. More times than not he either beats the defender to the puck or forces them to make a bad play.


Here we see Raymond about 5 feet behind the Slovak defender. He uses his speed to get around him and gains body position and then makes a perfect pass to teammate Karl Henriksson who almost converts the chance. 

I would like to see Raymond become more consistent with his effort on the fore-check but as you can see he is an absolute menace when he wants to be. 

The next aspect of Raymond's game we will examine is his passing and play-making abilities.

Coming into this season Raymond was probably better known for his goal-scoring abilities but this year he transitioned into quite an impressive play-maker. He went from being almost a goal per game player at the U-18 level in Sweden to an elite passer in the SuperElit. All while still maintaining his scoring touch and improving his all-around game.



What I noticed about Raymond while watching him play is that all his passes are off his stick in an instant. He doesn't hold the puck any longer than he needs to which makes it tough for defenders to stop the next play.

In the first clip we see Raymond make a power move towards the net with his shot being blocked. He knows he has the defense out of position and he quickly makes a no look backhand pass to an open teammate in front of the net for a high danger scoring chance

The second clip shows some of the more subtle parts of Raymond's game that I like. He steals the puck from the defenseman in a scrum and quickly puts the puck through the opposing winger's legs to his defenseman on the point.

In the two SHL games I saw him play in I was pleased to see that his play-making and passing abilities had translated nicely to the pro level. He did not look out of place playing against men and although he wasn't given much ice time, he was still noticeable which is good to see.


In this clip Raymond skates down the right side of the offensive zone with one defender on him. He makes an excellent play to evade the stick-check and hook his stick around the defender and make a pinpoint pass through another defenseman's stick. To be able to successfully make a pass through pretty much 4 players shows what Raymond is able to do with the puck on his stick.

I do see Raymond as more of a play-maker at the NHL level but he's still a capable scoring winger.

This leads us to the next part of Raymond's game we will take a look at: his shooting and goal-scoring abilities.

Lucas Raymond can score in an abundance of ways; off the rush, on the power-play, wrist-shot, snap-shot, and even the one-timer. He is so good at creating space for himself in the offensive zone and allowing his teammates to find him in open spots.


In this clip Raymond enters the zone 2 on 3 with teammate Alexander Holtz. He is able to create just enough separation from the Russian defenseman attempting to defend the pass and get himself into a one-time position on one knee to bury the puck in the back of the net.

I don't think Raymond will have trouble scoring at the NHL level because he is so smart in the offensive zone and he creates chances for himself by being in great position and always keeping his feet moving.


In this clip Raymond demonstrates his quick, accurate, and powerful release. He picks up the loose puck just inside the offensive zone and with a few quick feet he is able to get into a shooting position and rifle the puck over the goalie's left arm. Watch as Raymond uses his left leg to create more leverage and power as he is releasing the puck. These are the type of mechanics you love to see in a young player's shot.

Raymond also seems to score in the most clutch moments. He knows he's the one that has to put the team on his back and never disappoints when it matters the most.


This goal by Raymond was the over-time game winner of the IIHF U-18 World Championship Gold Medal Game. Raymond receives the puck at the left circle and fakes a move towards the net, he pops back out towards the high slot and absolutely wires one over the shoulder of Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov.

Raymond is very patient when looking for shooting lanes and doesn't take too many low quality shots. He is able to out-wait the defenseman most of the time and either find a better scoring chance or pass it off to an open teammate. I would like to see him shoot the puck a bit more because that release is quick and accurate and can fool goalies.

Defensively, I like where Raymond is at right now. He sometimes does get caught puck-watching in the defensive zone but he is committed on the back-check and forces the opposition to make quick decisions. He is really good with his stick defensively and is able to cause turnovers with a quick stick lift or disruption of a shot.

I don't see Raymond being a elite two-way winger at the next level like a Mark Stone but he isn't a liability on the defensive side whatsoever. Raymond will get bigger and stronger and so that will help him win more battles in both the defensive and offensive zone. No 17 year old can have a perfect defensive game and I only expect Raymond to get better at this as he develops and plays against tougher competition.

The final aspect of Raymond's game that has me convinced he will be an elite player in the NHL is his Hockey IQ.

Raymond is such a smart and mature player for his age. (there's a reason he was the first '02 born player to play in the SHL) His overall understanding for the game and on ice awareness is a step ahead of 99% of the players his age. He learns from his mistakes and I noticed he just gets smarter and smarter with every new game of his I watch.

Raymond's overall on ice awareness is pretty impressive and more times than not he is a step ahead of everyone else on the ice. This allows him to find those open spots and give himself an advantage against the opposing team. He immediately thinks offense when the puck is on his stick and will make the little plays to ensure his team is successful. Overall, Raymond has a really intelligent hockey mind and I can't see it failing him at the next level.


This clip here basically sums up what Lucas Raymond is: An elite offensive dynamo with speed to burn and an abundance of skill. He's so fun to watch and I know I'm personally going to enjoy tracking his progress over the next year. 


Statistical Analysis:

Lucas Raymond was one of the best players in Sweden's top U-20 league last year as a 16 year old. He finished the season T-4th in scoring despite playing 8 less games than the #1 scorer. Raymond recorded 13 goals and 35 assists for 48 points in just 37 games. This is the most points we have ever seen from a U-17 player in the SuperElit.

Raymond finished 2nd in the league in assists only behind fellow Frolunda J20 teammate Karl Henriksson who had 36. He played 8 less games. Raymond also has the 2nd highest assists per game (0.95) in a D-1 season (min 20 GP) in the SuperElit. He only trails William Nylander who put up a remarkable 1.04 assists per game in 2012-2013.

Here is how Raymond's production in his D-1 season match up against some notable NHLers:


Raymond out produced a top 6 center in Mikael Backlund and an elite 1st line winger in Filip Forsberg. William Nylanders D-1 season in the SuperElit was the greatest of all time and besides him only the Sedin twins outproduced Lucas Raymond. He also significantly outproduced some guys who didn't make this list like: Jakub Vrana, Andre Burakovsky, and Jesper Bratt.

Internationally last year, Raymond was able to prove in each tournament that he's one of the best players in the world for his age group. At the U-17 level he was able to put up 6 goals and 4 assists in 7 games against the best players his age. He was even more impressive against older competition at the U-18 level putting up 10 goals and 11 assists over 18 games.

There were only 4 players U-17 who played games in the SHL last year. While Raymond was the first of the 2002 born skaters to make an appearance in the SHL, he was also the only one who recorded a point. In 10 games playing in the top pro league in Sweden (with very limited ice-time) Raymond was able to pot 2 goals. While this may seem a little under-whelming, the fact that he even played in the SHL last year is impressive in itself, and getting on the board twice in 10 games is no small feat for a 16 year old playing against men. He should have no problem producing in the SHL this year with a greater role and all around improvements to his game. 


Conclusion:


Lucas Raymond has all the tools to become not just a good player at the next level, but an elite franchise changing winger that teams will be itching to get on draft day next June. There's lots of hockey to play and I can't predict what will happen over the next 10 months, but I will be very surprised if Lucas Raymond isn't selected in the top 3 of the 2020 NHL Draft. We can only expect Raymond to get better this year and I know I'm really excited to see what he can do over a full season in arguably the 3rd best league in the world. We have a pretty special player here in Raymond and I'm not sure we will find a better Swedish prospect for a while. He's so smart, so skilled, and so intriguing; I don't really see a situation where Lucas Raymond isn't a prime contributor at the next level. 






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