Red Wings’ Lucas Raymond striving to have more in store for an encore

Detroit News

Traverse City — Lucas Raymond had an excellent rookie season.

Now, how is Raymond going to follow up on it?

After scoring 23 goals and totaling 57 points — and finishing fourth in the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) voting that was won by teammate Moritz Seider — Raymond isn’t paying attention to the expectations or pressure from the outside.

Raymond is pushing himself to better last season’s statistics.

“The most pressure I got is from myself to get better,” Raymond said. “(I) focus on that as much as possible and block the other things out. Just try to play good hockey and that will lead to a lot of good things.”

Playing with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, the three were the most consistent and effective line the Wings had last season, and the trio is likely to be reunited this season by new coach Derek Lalonde.

Raymond, 20, displayed an overall advanced game, with a great knack of knowing where to be on the ice. But Raymond understood there were still areas to improve.

This summer, Raymond continued to improve his skating but targeted other parts of his skill set.

“I want to take the puck to the net more,” said Raymond, who wants to be harder on pucks. “That was one of the things I took away from last season. A lot of goals are scored on rebounds, tips, and tight around the net. That’s a big thing I’ve been trying to focus on. It’s tough to practice; it’s more of a mentality thing, if you want to get there.”

Resting on his laurels, and feeling too good about last season, said Raymond, is unacceptable.

“The mentality into the season is not taking anything for granted and having the same mentality as last year,” Raymond said. “You have to give it your all. It’s a really tough league and you have to bring it every night. That’s the biggest thing, not to get too comfortable.”

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Lalonde has installed many new concepts and has held rigorous practices to start this training camp. But Raymond feels it’s been beneficial, as well as added a certain degree of importance with a new staff watching.

“It’s about making a first impression, you want to be as good as possible,” Raymond said. “It’s been great tempo and intensity on the ice, guys are really bringing it. It’s a lot of fun and it makes you better.

“It’s a different mentality. It’s been a lot of stuff to take in for everyone but so far, we’ve handled it real good and everyone feels comfortable in the new system. Everyone is real excited to start playing.”

Getting work in

Goaltender Ville Husso is adapting to a new team in front of him, after the Wings acquired Husso — and quickly signed him to a three-year contract — this summer.

Husso is getting comfortable with his new teammates, but he is largely making sure his game is ready during this camp and exhibition season.

“The practices are pretty tough,” Husso said. “It’s good to get to those shots and just try to get your own game to a level I need to be at once the season starts. It’s good to have a couple exhibition games as well. It’s going to be a good time here for a couple more days, and head back to Detroit and get some games.”

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Husso is concentrating on certain aspects of his goaltending.

“Just get the hands going and coordination and just try to get good habits,” Husso said. “That way I bring it into the games and first all the exhibition games.”

Lalonde will divide the workload between Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic early in the season to see if either pulls away and grabs the majority. Husso feels that is the correct call.

“In this league, you have to have two good goalies and it’s a good situation for me and Ned to battle for the spot,” Husso said. “It’s a good situation for us.”

Red & White scrimmage

The Wings will briefly get away from the routine of practices on Sunday with the Red & White intrasquad scrimmage.

Lalonde said the coaching staff will continue to teach and install new ideas in the morning, then watch to see how it’s executed in the scrimmage.

“We’ve been giving the guys a lot within the defensive zone and we want to see the structure, but we also want to see the high compete level and some attitude with that approach,” Lalonde said. “I don’t think, after getting a feel for the first three days, I don’t think that’ll be an issue.”

The first few practices have been intense and physical, and that was by Lalonde’s design.

“I still think we need to learn how to be harder,” Lalonde said. “Some of our young guys (can see) being hard can be learned. I give the guys credit (on Saturday). On Day 3 you usually see a fall off and we did not see that. That was exciting for the coaching staff and that’s driven by our leadership.

“We’ve asked a lot of the guys these first few days and you’ve seen how physical it’s been. That’s by design, and the guys have responded real well.”

Injury update

Bertuzzi and Oskar Sundqvist both weren’t on the ice and continue to be day to day. Lalonde said Bertuzzi is likely to return earlier than Sundqvist, possibly even for Sunday’s scrimmage.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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