Prospect of Interest: Lucas Raymond draws Marner, Panarin comparisons

Canada's Dylan Holloway (20) harasses Sweden's Lucas Raymond (26) during second period Hlinka Gretzky Cup gold medal game action. (Codie McLachlan/CP)

Lucas Raymond is a versatile right-shot winger who can play just as effectively on the left side of the ice similar to Artemi Panarin, David Perron or countryman Filip Forsberg – and just like those players, Raymond has impressive offensive ability while not forgetting about the defensive side of the game.

With a strong hockey IQ coupled with high level of creativity and advanced puck skills, perhaps his closest NHL comparable is Mitch Marner.

He fell two spots since the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings were released and finished the season as the No. 4-ranked European-based skater, but he’s still considered a top-tier talent.

Here’s what you need to know about Raymond.

Team: Frolunda
Position: Left Winger
Shoots: Right
Age: 18 (born March 28, 2002)
From: Gothenburg, Sweden
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 170 pounds

First-line talent was role player with Frolunda

He only had 10 points in 33 games and averaged fewer than 10 minutes of ice-time but overall that’s not bad considering he was a 17-year-old playing alongside grown men.

“Growing up, I was always the go-to guy with every team I played on and got to play huge minutes,” Raymond told The Detroit News. “Coming into this year and not getting the same role in a men's league was extremely valuable for me. You have to really fight for a spot and earn every minute of ice time. That was a big lesson.”

The fourth-line ice-time, and therefore the decreased exposure to scouts, was likely a contributing factor to his stock dropping slightly in the second half of the season. The game footage tells the real story, though, and Raymond is mature enough to know it.

“If you look at the stats and ice time, it looks like I didn't create something,” Raymond added. “But if you watch me play, the times I got on the power play and earned a regular shift or extra big-time minutes, you'll understood it more. I'll do everything I can, every practice, every game to make the lineup and be a productive player.”

Looks up to players like Marner, Panarin

Marner and Panarin are the two current NHLers to whom Raymond is most likely to be compared. Raymond says he is a fan of both star forwards, but not so much that he tries to mimic their respective styles.

“Mitch Marner and Artemi Panarin are two players I really enjoy watching, but you always need to try and become the best version of yourself,” Raymond told NHL.com prior to the 2019-20 season. “I consider myself a speedy forward who likes to have the puck and tries to create opportunities whether it's shooting or passing. I try and take the puck to the net, create offensive chances and still take care of defensive responsibilities.”

Gold-medal heroics at 2019 U-18 tournament

Raymond has played exclusively in Sweden and showed out for his country when donning the Tre Kronor at a handful of international tournaments. He won a bronze medal at the 2020 world juniors but his standout performance was at the 2019 IIHF under-18 world championship.

Raymond had eight points in seven games and was the star of the gold-medal game against Russia after recording a hat trick, including the game-winner in overtime.

“It (wasn’t) like a rebound or something. He takes the puck, dangles a guy, and then shoots it into the net. It's amazing!” Raymond’s Swedish linemate and fellow 2020 draft prospect Alexander Holtz said of the golden goal.

What do the scouts say?

Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino: “Brings a well-rounded skill set to the table. Makes plays in small areas and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. … Tough player to nail down based on limited opportunity in the SHL. … Good hands, can play fast, has excellent creativity and playmaking ability. … Against his peer group, Raymond is elite. … Speed burner who has high hockey IQ that lends itself to fine playmaking.”

Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects: “An explosive winger who is equally dangerous with his shot or pass. Moves with quickness and handles the puck at a high-level even at top speed. His puck skills are fluid, controlled and capable of embarrassing. Finishes with accuracy off of a quick release. Capable of converting from all over. Possesses that rare trait of escapability. The lack of deployment this year has dampened the hype, but his skillset demands attention.”

Mike Morreale of NHL.com: “He plays a strong two-way game with excellent vision, intensity and a good wrist shot. … Has a nose for the net and is a tremendous asset on the power play and penalty kill.”

EliteProspects: “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 make things happen."

Takes advantage of his mom’s health and fitness expertise

Raymond’s mother, Cecilia, works as a personal trainer and nutrition coach and that has benefitted the forward. Even though he jokes that “it's tough having a cheat day” it has given him a definite leg up on his competition during his young career.

“Sometimes it's different hearing it from your mom. I think if somebody else who wasn't my mom would've told me the same things I probably would have bought it even more,” Raymond told Detroit Red Wings writer Dana Wakiji. “But she helped me a lot. It's something that's become natural for me since I grew up learning about food and what to eat and what not to eat.”

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