Winger: Lucas Raymond
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but yes, I’ve deemed the Detroit Red Wings immeasurable 2020 fourth overall draft pick, Lucas Raymond, as the organization’s second-best prospect.
I’ll explain my reasoning over these next two pages combined, but Raymond, who is, will be selected as Detroit’s top prospect according to many outlets. While Raymond is exceptionally talented, understanding he’s just 18-years old and is in the midst of his third season playing with men in the SHL, he’s yet to produce eye-popping offensive numbers.
To me, it’s picking your poison. Would you prefer to see a prospect like Rasmussen or Zadina dominate at the junior level and struggle early on as a professional? Both Rasmussen and Zadina outgrew the competition, but when they arrived to play with men even at the AHL level, things became a struggle.
Both Red Wings’ prospects grappled with the speed of the NHL game being thrown right into the fire going from junior to the show.
The alternative route is the one Raymond has taken; it’s similar to the one of Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews, who dominated the Swiss league before landing in Toronto. That is one glaring difference, Matthews dominated, and while Raymond has been effective, he’s yet to really separate himself while playing in the Swedish Hockey League.
Last season as a 17-year old Raymond recorded just four goals, 10 points in 33 contests. It’s been much of the same in 2020; Raymond has notched five goals totaling 12 points in 22 games. You can see the progression, but it’s a far cry from Matthews’ 24 goals, 46 points in 36 games with Zurich SC before being selected first overall.
Raymond is a two-way forward that has, unlike many young players, proven to be very reliable in the defensive zone. Raymond projects to be more of a facilitator but has shown to have the ability to finish.
His highly touted skill-set, potential, and the fact that Raymond has played professional hockey bode well for the Detroit Red Wings. A consensus top-three pick fell to Detroit fourth overall; expect big things early on from the 2020 draft pick.
It would not be out of the question to expect a 40-point (pro-rated) rookie season in 2021 from the top-nine talent. Also, it’s worth noting that Raymond gives Detroit a much-needed right-handed forward. Detroit currently has three right-handed forwards on their expected roster, Luke Glendening, Sam Gagner, and Bobby Ryan.
NHL ETA: 2021