Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2020 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.
Lucas Raymond doesn't seem to be fazed by any pressure as a top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft at Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26-27.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound left wing, who received an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list, said he's too busy adjusting to playing his first full season in the Swedish Hockey League with Frolunda.
"There's no pressure really," Raymond said. "I just focus on my game and play the best I can to help the team win and am not focused so much on the things happening around me. I'll try to focus on hockey, play my best hockey and see how far that gets me."
Playing his best has gotten Raymond to the point in his development where some scouts have seen similarities to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner.
"He can make plays, have good things come from his stick," Sweden National Junior Team coach Tomas Monten said. "But I think he's still really competitive. I think he's not afraid of sticking his head into situations. I think that will help him move through.
"I think Lucas has a lot to learn and a lot to develop as a young player. I don't follow the other draft-eligible players but he's a really good prospect from our standpoint."
Raymond smiled when told of the comparisons between himself and Marner.
"Mitch Marner and (New York Rangers forward) Artemi Panarin are two players I really enjoy watching, but you always need to try and become the best version of yourself," he said.
Raymond has three points (one goal, two assists) and eight shots on goal while averaging 10:38 of ice time in 10 games this season for Frolunda. He scored two goals in 10 games with them last season.
"I consider myself a speedy forward who likes to have the puck and tries to create opportunities whether it's shooting or passing," Raymond said. "I try and take the puck to the net, create offensive chances and still take care of defensive responsibilities."
The 17-year-old has produced in pressure moments since he first picked up a hockey stick as a 3-year-old.
"I really started to focus on hockey when I turned 8 years old; I always watched a lot of hockey and soccer," Raymond said. "It was a big decision between the two sports, but in the end I thought hockey was more fun to play. I watched a lot of the SHL but later started watching the NHL recaps and that was great."
Raymond had 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists) in 37 games with Frolunda's team in Sweden's junior league in addition to his SHL time last season, and he capped his season with an overtime goal to complete a hat trick for Sweden to win the 2019 World Under-18 Championship at Fjallraven Center in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.
"[The World U-18] probably is one of the best moments of my career so far," Raymond said. "It was a special tournament and it also was right after SHL playoffs. It was a fun experience having the tournament in Sweden, and to top it off winning the gold medal was fantastic, especially with that group since we played together for so long."
Raymond said he can play left or right wing but has excelled on his off-wing as a right-handed shot the past four seasons.
"Sometimes I can get a bit frustrated when I want to create offense and it's not working out, but I think that's part of my development ... to be more patient and pick my spots," he said. "Playing physical is not something I focus on when playing but sometimes if you want to help your team get into the game, you just try and do whatever you can to get into the game."
Jacob Olofsson, selected No. 56 in the 2018 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, played center for Raymond during the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan, in July and said it was easy to generate offense with Raymond on his line.
"Raymond can score with the puck, but he's such a good passer," Olofsson said.
Raymond is a strong candidate to play for Sweden at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in December.
"It would be fun; it's one of my childhood dreams and another goal I've set this season," Raymond said. "I watched the tournament growing up and to be able to play would be awesome. To be able to compete for the gold would be even better."
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