2020 NHL Draft prospect profile: Lucas Raymond scouting report

Lucas Raymond (Photo credit should read ERIK MARTENSSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Lucas Raymond (Photo credit should read ERIK MARTENSSON/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Lucas Raymond is one of the best forwards available in the 2020 NHL Draft. With a strong draft season, he could propel himself into the top 5.

The 2020 NHL Draft will be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. In my fourth edition of 2020 draft scouting reports, I will be looking into Swedish forward Lucas Raymond. I have previously looked at Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, and Cole Perfetti.

Raymond, born on March 28th, 2002, in Goteborg, Sweden, is a winger for Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). He stands at just 5’10 and 165 pounds, making him the smallest prospect we’ve looked at so far. Raymond has been ranked fourth by Hockeyprospect.com, third by Future Considerations, and second by both ISS Hockey and McKeens Hockey.

Here’s what EliteProspects had to say about the Swedish winger.

"“A very well-rounded and highly skilled winger. Raymond is blessed with exceptional hockey sense. Furthermore, he has terrific hands, great speed and fine work ethic. Plays with plenty of intensity and battles hard for the puck. A nightmare to play against with his forechecking and puck-stealing ability.He also plays a strong two-way game and is a capable penalty killer. Offensively, he has a strong wrist shot and excellent vision. Few weaknesses overall and is a player that doesn’t wait for the play to happen, but the one that generates the play and makes things happen.”"

Raymond began playing in the SHL back in 2018-19. He played 10 total games there, with two goals to show for it. However, he mainly played in the SuperElit league, ultimately a step-down, with Frolunda HC’s under-20 team. Raymond posted 13 goals and 35 assists for 48 points in 37 games there, as a 16-year-old winger.

Raymond also played internationally for Sweden’s under-17 team in the World Hockey Championships, putting up four goals and three assists for seven points in six games. He also played for Sweden’s U-18 team in the World Junior Championships, posting 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points in 7 games.

So far in the 2019-20 season, the 17-year-old Swedish phenom has spent more time with the men in the SHL than with the SuperElit teams. He has slotted into 15 SHL games, recording 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points. Meanwhile, Raymond has also played 5 SuperElit games with 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points in that span.

Scouting Report

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As always, I want to start off with a huge thanks to ProspectShifts for providing film on a ton of prospects in the 2020 NHL draft. Now, without further ado, let’s look at Raymond’s tendencies.

I didn’t notice a whole lot about Raymond’s game and how he plays, as he plays a very clean and smart game. However, he shows a willingness to continue putting the puck on net from anywhere on the ice. Raymond also shows awareness when letting shots go, by placing them low and on the net for rebounds or deflection opportunities.

To stay on the offensive side of things, he shows a pattern of attacking through the slot area or middle of the ice. He does this mainly through the rush when he does not have the puck. Raymond tends to slip in between the two defenders and try getting open for an in-tight opportunity. Also, despite his small stature, he likes getting involved as a screen in front of the opposing goalie.

One major thing that I noticed with Raymond is how he shies away from contact. Several times, when he sees an opponent stepping up for a hit, he ducks underneath it, or let’s go of the puck to side-step the hit. That’s one thing that he needs to change, as he cannot just lose possession of the puck when contact is arriving because NHL players will take advantage of it every single time.

Another negative, this time on the defensive end of the ice, Raymond plays a bit unorganized. He tends to skate all over the zone, without much positional awareness. However, that does not mean he is ineffective, but I will get to that later.

Strengths And Weaknesses

Now, let’s get into the positives and negatives of Raymond’s game. To start, let’s look at his mental game. He has excellent anticipation, usually knowing where to go, whether it’s to get open for a pass or to make a defensive play. Raymond can read plays much faster than everyone else in his age group.

For his skating, he is very fast. He has great acceleration too, which allows him to reach his top speed rather quickly. Raymond’s also good at changing speeds, as he is a smooth skater with excellent edgework. It makes him extremely tough to defend against because he can speed up and burn you to the outside or he can slow down and cut towards the slot for a scoring opportunity.

One downside is that he isn’t strong on his skates. Granted, as stated earlier, Raymond is a smaller player, so naturally bigger players can knock him off the puck relatively easy. He must bulk up and get stronger on his skates, but that comes with most prospects.

Raymond isn’t much of a passer. He doesn’t beat teams with pin-point accurate passes through the slot and across the crease. However, he isn’t necessarily a bad passer. Raymond is excellent at breaking out of the defensive end with his passing, as well as gaining entry into the offensive zone.

Though it doesn’t get showcased often, due to limited ice time in a very tough league against men, Raymond is an incredible transitional player. This doesn’t mean he isn’t much of a playmaker in the offensive zone because he has the creativity and silky smooth stickhandling to create his own room and make a play from there.

Raymond’s shooting is his calling card and his greatest strength. His shot features an incredibly quick release, which makes it hard for goalies to react fast enough to. While quick releases are effective, they won’t work if your shot isn’t powerful. Luckily for Raymond, he has an extremely powerful shot.

He’s not limited to power either – Raymond’s shot is deadly accurate. What makes him an even more dangerous shooter is the fact that he can get his shot off from just about anywhere and in any way. If he’s off-balance, he still has the ability to let off a bomb of a shot on net. He is a lethal sniper.

As for his forechecking and backchecking, he doesn’t get too involved. When Raymond does commit to the forecheck, he is incredibly effective, forcing turnovers with relative ease despite playing against men in the SHL. His speed makes him an excellent back checker, though he isn’t a very aggressive player, so he doesn’t get involved much there, either. If he were to be more involved, he would generate a ton of turnovers.

In the defensive zone, as mentioned before, Raymond is unorganized. However, he gets the job done one way or another. He supports the defense down low and attacks his point man with high-level effectiveness. The reason for this is his use of an active stick. He has a great poke-check, and he is incredible at plugging up multiple passing lanes by waving his stick in front of an opponent and forcing them to make a bad play.

Comparison and Potential

Raymond is an excellent prospect. To me, he has an endless amount of potential. His floor is safe as well, as he is solid in all three zones and is extremely efficient with his shot. That being said, at worst, I see Raymond as a third-line scoring winger.

According to NHL RankKing, an Apple and Android mobile app created by Mason Black, Raymond’s potential on the pNHLe scale is in between a first and second-line winger.

It’s very difficult to compare prospects to current NHL players. However, I will give it a shot. Keep in mind, this is in no way a comparison to how good he will become in the future, it’s strictly based on styles of play.

To me, Raymond looks like the Swedish version of Brayden Point. Point has an excellent shot and is an extremely speedy skater. He is also very reliable in his own end. Raymond is a fast skater, great shooter and, though unorganized, reliable in the defensive end. The only thing about this comparison is the fact that Point is a far better passer than Raymond currently projects to be. However, this does not limit Raymond’s potential as a player.

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Currently, I believe Raymond will need an additional season in the SHL before he will be NHL-ready, though he is extremely close. However, I feel as though Raymond falls under the “safe” category of picks, as I don’t see him as a bust. His skill set in all areas is too great to not pan out over the next few seasons, in my honest opinion.