The 2020 NHL Entry Draft was scheduled to begin on June 26th; however, it was postponed on March 25th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the actual date of the draft, and consequently the draft lottery is unknown, we thought it would be a good idea to start releasing our draft profiles for members of the prospective 2020 draft class. Our first profile on Lucas Raymond will be below. Be on the lookout for more in the coming weeks as we plan to be releasing them for most of the top 15 prospects. Especially given how many draft sections the Devils own in this upcoming draft.
Lucas Raymond is an 18-year-old Swedish left-winger. He is listed at 5-feet-10 inches tall and 165 pounds. He has played his youth/junior career in Sweden for Frölunda HC, where he most recently split the season between the SuperElit (Sweden’s junior league) and the SHL (Sweden’s version of the NHL). In the final 2020 Draft Prospect Rankings, Raymond checks in at fourth among European skaters after being ranked second in the midterm release.
In the SuperElit, he tallied 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in nine games, this before playing 33 games in the SHL, where he tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists) while only playing about eight to nine minutes a night in a fourth-line role. Raymond also represented his country at the 2020 World Junior Championships, where he helped the Swedes capture a bronze medal. He had four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games.
Overall, Raymond has had an extremely successful junior career. In 54 career SuperElit games, he has tallied 62 points (16 goals, 46 assists). And in two World Junior Championships (2018 and 2020) has 12 points in 14 games.
The Scouting Report
Raymond is an all-around player. Everyone gushes over his offensive skills and rightfully so. His biggest strength is his playmaking ability, and he’s an incredibly smart player who sees the ice like the best of them. This is evident in his gaudy assist totals in the SuperElit league. Another one of Raymond’s strengths is his skating ability. He can fly on the ice, and when you pair that with his playmaking ability due to his vision and high hockey-IQ, you get a deadly offensive player.
Raymond is no slouch on the defensive end, either. His high hockey-IQ and speed help him cover the ice and anticipate opposing players’ moves. He also is described to have a “high-motor” and never gives up on a play. Thanks to these qualities, he is a bonafide pest defensively. To further demonstrate these qualities, he has constantly been used on the penalty kill.
Like every player, Raymond does have a few things he needs to work on. As was listed above, he only comes in at 165 pounds. As Devils’ fans learned with Jack Hughes, speed can only do so much. Raymond’s small stature results in him getting knocked off the puck, as well as being susceptible to the big hit every once in a while. Another possible cause for concern is his production in the SHL. His career 0.28 point per game production is low for a guy who is a projected top-six pick. However, keep in mind not only is the SHL is a league with men ten-plus years older than Raymond but he also only played in a fourth-line role.
Lastly, his shot is something worth examining. By no means is this area of his game a weakness, but watching Raymond shows he has a pass-first mentality and would rather set his teammates up than shoot the puck. Developing his shot further may change this mentality slightly, as it would be a good thing given his sneaky shot.
Raymond fell on the final NHL Draft Prospect Rankings list slightly. But this is most likely due to the players around him playing extremely well and not because he played poorly. Another determining factor may be his perceived under-production in the SHL. I’d expect him to go anywhere between pick five and eight. So he should be on board when the Devils’ pick comes whenever the draft may be.
Fit With the Devils
Any player with raw talent and skill would make for a much-welcomed addition to the red and black. However, as I explained when I was asked who I preferred between Raymond and Alexander Holtz, Raymond is more of a playmaker rather than a pure scorer.
The Devils are in dire need of a player with pure scoring abilities and Raymond, although a fantastic player, is more of a playmaker. Now, if he is the best player on the board when the Devils pick, he is a sure-fire correct selection, as he is going to develop into a solid top-six forward. But if there is someone on the board with the same talent that is categorized as more of a goal scorer, I would go that direction instead.