The shifty, two-way forward out of Frölunda brings elite pace to his game
Lucas Raymond (RW), Frölunda (SHL)
The extremely competitive Swedish winger brings a ton to the table whenever he steps on the ice, regardless of who his opponent is. At just 5’10” and 183 pounds, Raymond is slightly undersized but you would never know it by watching him on the ice.
Pooling rankings from the other major scouting outlets, Raymond most likely comes it at the fourth spot for the consolidated ranking, but I have Rossi just a sliver ahead of the Swedish forward. While the talented forward may not be NHL ready right off the jump, he possesses the skills in his game which will have him playing in the show sooner rather than later.
GP: 33 G: 4 A: 6 P: 10 +/-: 6
Playing his first full season in the Swedish Hockey League, Raymond had to battle for minutes for one of the top teams in Sweden in Frölunda. While he finished the season with a meager 10 points, there was more than what meets the eye.
Raymond only had 9:48 time on ice per game and was mostly outcasted at times as the 13th forward so the production would have been tough to come by.
While he was behind Alexander Holtz in production as the fellow Swedish future-draftee finished the season with 16 points in 35 games, but Holtz managed to play near 3 minutes more than Raymond per game. While playing on a better team in Frölunda, it ended up being to Raymond’s detriment as he didn’t have the opportunity for ice time like many of the other top prospects had.
Appearing in 9 games in the SuperElit (Sweden’s top U20 League), Raymond accumulated 14 points in 9 games, and on most nights was head and shoulders above the competition.
Despite Sweden’s disappointing loss in the Semi-Final of the World Juniors, Raymond was very impressive for a 17-year old producing 4 points in 7 games. Alongside Holtz, they created a lethal line for a strong Swedish team.
Raymond’s top skill has to be his playmaking, his ability to find the open man whether off the rush or in the offensive zone is elite. More of a pass-first player, the talented forward uses his great instincts to set up his teammates in prime locations to score.
The Hockey Writers cite Raymond as arguably the best playmaker in the whole draft, which puts him in very elite company:
"The biggest positive that’s visible when watching Raymond is how creative he is as a playmaker and how effortless his decision-making seems to be with each shift. He has a legitimate claim for the title of “best playmaker” in the entire draft class."
He consistently makes the game look easy with his split-second decisions with the puck on his stick, he thinks the game really fast.
Raymond takes the puck around a pile of Switzerland defenders and ends up putting the puck right on his teammate’s tape for the highlight-reel goal.
Whenever you watch Raymond play you notice two things: his elite speed and motor. The fiery Swedish forward seems to constantly be in motion, rarely at a standstill. While Raymond isn’t the quote on quote “fastest” player in the draft, his consistent ability to always work 110% and keep his feet moving to make his skating that much more noticeable.
Due to the great compete, along with other aspects of his game, Raymond has received constant comparisons to Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Mitch Marner, and that comparison holds a lot of weight. Marner has been a staple on the Leafs penalty kill over the last couple of seasons due to his high motor, and that is a mold the Swedish prospect would be smart to follow.
The clip below versus Kazakhstan in the World Juniors shows that Raymond will never cheat you on effort, he corrals the puck behind the net, then after his team loses the puck, chases down the puck carrier for the big hit and impressive takeaway:
These types of traits will always have a welcome spot in the NHL and should make him a coach’s favourite.
Production in Draft Year
Raymond is a player with very few flaws, he seems to do everything at a high level. While his size could spring some concerns, the ferociousness in his game makes his size the least of team’s worries.
His low production in the SHL of just 10 points will be viewed as a weakness, while many if not all scouts won’t be looking at it with concern. While he is far behind some top prospects to come out of Sweden in pas years with just 1.86 points per/60.
Ranking fourth, Raymond is still ahead of one of today’s brightest stars Mika Zibanejad, also with Rangers underwhelming prospect Lias Andersson ahead of him, each player’s production against men in their draft year isn’t indicative of their future in the NHL.
How does Raymond fit in the Ottawa system?
The talented Swede would fit in right behind the player who Ottawa selects at 3rd overall in the draft, likely creating a formidable duo atop the Senators prospect pool.
Ottawa isn’t greatly deep at right wing with Connor Brown and Bobby Ryan the only active NHL players who hold down spots on the right side. With top prospect and sure to be NHLer in 2020-21 Drake Batherson joining the big club next season.
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While many think Raymond could use another year in the SHL, it’s likely he stays with Frolunda for another season to develop his skills and then would likely come to the NHL to begin his career.
With the Senators lacking immediate talent on the right side, Raymond would be a welcome sight. He would likely form an exciting duo inside the top six on the right side with him and the aforementioned Drake Batherson. Either playing with a center like Josh Norris or Logan Brown, while also likely that the Senators draft a center at 3rd overall, and Raymond eventually slides in with him atop the forward lineup.
The Ottawa Senators could form one of the more exciting young winger duos in the NHL with Brady Tkachuk and Lucas Raymond, being two players who compete insanely hard, one of the things the Senators consistently preach. Recently Corey Pronman made an exciting claim linking Raymond to the Senators.
Raymond feels like an ideal fit in Ottawa.