As part of our Road to the Draft content series, NewJerseyDevils.com will be profiling the top North American and European Skaters eligible for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft. This will allow Devils and hockey fans at large to familiarize themselves with the next class of NHL talent. We now take a look at Frölunda forward, Lucas Raymond.
WEIGHT: 165 lbs
POSITION: Right wing/Left wing
DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: 33 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 P
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"There is no play that is impossible when he has the puck […] Because he is so smart, when it appears he may be trapped is actually when he may be most dangerous, because he is so attuned to the possibilities. I see him as a number one playmaking right winger in the mold of Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner."
- TSN Scouting Director Craig Button, on TSN's That's Hockey
CUT TO THE CHASE
If you kept your eye on the 2019 U18 World Championship, you'll certainly be familiar with Sweden's Lucas Raymond. It may have been two tournaments ago, but it still holds a lasting impression - especially in Sweden.
Playing for his Swedish national team, and as the host nation, Raymond put on a show in the gold medal game. At 17 years old, he scored a hat trick that included the game-winning overtime goal against Russia to win the gold medal, the first at that level for Sweden. Those three goals were scored on Iaroslav Askarov, the top goaltender in this year's NHL draft. At the 2020 World Juniors, Raymond was the youngest player on Sweden's bronze medal winning team. He had two goals and two assists.
Raymond is one of two Swedish wingers highly touted in this year's NHL Entry Draft, along with Alexander Holtz. Raymond, like Holtz, played the majority of the last season in the Swedish Hockey League, playing against players well beyond their age and experience.
While his 10 points in 33 games with Frölunda may not sound like a great deal, when you consider the limited ice-time and the average of his opponents, he held his own.
Raymond is not considered to be 'NHL ready' just yet, with a smaller 5'10 frame at 165 lbs., he will need to grow stronger before making an impact in the NHL, his size really does reflect his teenage age. But it could be worth the wait for the NHL team that selects him in the upcoming draft, selecting a player who already has a significant understand and desire to play the 200-foot game.
"It was a good season, I think," Raymond told TSN's Mark Masters in May. "Playing in a men's league, it's a big difference from juniors. With the team we had with such a good roster, I learned so much this year. I really had to fight for it and developed a lot not just on the ice, but off the ice as well by getting to be around those guys every day and see how they worked and practiced. I developed a lot."
His speed and playmaking abilities are what stand out from his current game, his creativity in dishing out the puck have also been highly regarded. His performance at the U18's is also a clear indication that against his peers, Raymond can round out his game, making him a threat as both a playmaker and a goal scorer. Once this young man develops more size, he could be dominant threat.
DID YOU KNOW?
Raymond can't really get away with a 'cheat day' when it comes to his eating. His mother, Cecilia is a nutrition coach.
"Yeah, it's tough having a cheat day," Raymond told Masters via Zoom.
"Of course, it helped me," he continued, "But sometimes it's different hearing it from your mom. I think if somebody else who wasn't my mom would've told me the same things, I probably would have bought it even more. But she helped me a lot. It's something that's become natural for me since I grew up learning about food and what to eat and what not to eat."