Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Lucas Raymond.
Despite being an underage player in the tournament, Lucas Raymond shined in helping Sweden to the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Championship with four goals and four assists in seven games last spring. His hattrick, including the overtime winner, in the gold-medal-game, was immense. Raymond also helped Sweden to Bronze at the Under-17 Hockey Challenge (seven points in six games) and Silver at last year’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup (five goals, seven points in five games).
Domestically, he played in the SHL this season, putting up four goals and 10 points in 33 games against men. He also put up three goals in six games, helping Frolunda to their second straight Champions Hockey League title. In limited action in the U20 league, he had 14 points in nine games. Raymond played for Sweden at the World Juniors scoring two goals and four points in seven games, and winning a bronze medal.
Lucas Raymond Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Right
Born March 28th, 2002 — Göteborg, Sweden
Height 5’11” — Weight 170 lbs [180 cm/77 kg]
Raymond is a fantastic skater. He has an excellent stride which leads to outstanding speed and fantastic acceleration. This is combined with excellent edgework and agility. He is extremely dangerous on the rush. His ability to change speeds as well as to quickly change directions combines to make him very hard to defend, especially in one-on-one situations. Raymond has a low centre of gravity which makes him hard to knock off the puck and allows him to fight through checks. He should continue to improve in this area as he adds muscle to his frame.
Raymond combines his excellent skating ability with very good stickhandling. He can make plays at top speed. He has the passing skill and vision to set up teammates on the rush as well as the poise to quarterback the play on the power play. Raymond controls the puck on the half boards and creates scoring opportunities. He reads the play extremely well, almost always making the smart pass. He sees opportunities as they develop and is good at anticipating when a teammate will be open for a scoring chance.
Raymond also has a good wrist shot and a quick release. His quick hands allow him to change the angle on his shot and fool goaltenders. What is scary is that his shot may get even harder as he matures and adds muscle. Raymond can create offensive opportunities in a variety of ways. His stickhandling skills and speed allow him to beat defenders wide and cut to the net. When they back off to defend against him, he can take advantage of the bigger passing lanes or use the defender as a screen and shoot the puck on net. Raymond will need to put on muscle before he is NHL ready but his offensive skills make him a dynamic threat.
Raymond is willing to work in all three zones. He supports the defence down low and works to help his teammates in defending against the cycle game. However, his lack of size and strength can sometimes be exposed in his own end, especially in the SHL where he faces grown men. His positioning and effort level are there though, so it is hoped that his defensive game will improve as he matures physically.
Projection and Comparison
Raymond has the skills necessary to be a first-line winger in the NHL but will need some time. Another season in the SHL would help him to continue to mature and to produce while playing a high level of competition. He will need to add muscle to be able to withstand the rigours of the North American game. It will also give him another opportunity to perform at the World Junior Championships. Raymond’s game is reminiscent of Johnny Gaudreau. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Lucas Raymond that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Lucas Raymond Main Photo:
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC – JANUARY 2, 2020: The Czech Republics Petr Cajka, Swedens Karl Henriksson and Lucas Raymond (L-R) in their 2020 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship quarter-final match at Ostravar Arena. Peter Kovalev/TASS (Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images)