Projecting Lucas Raymond’s New Red Wings Contract

The Hockey Writers

Without Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin in the lineup, Lucas Raymond has stepped up to be Detroit’s go-to, all-situations forward. It’s good timing for Raymond – his entry-level contract (ELC) expires after this season and the third-year forward is due for a hefty raise. 

Raymond is eligible to sign a new deal at any point. Here, we’ll explore what that contract could look like in terms of length and salary.

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Negotiation Between the Red Wings & Lucas Raymond

Let’s start with leverage. Both sides have some, though not the same amount.

On one hand, Raymond is coming off of his ELC and is not eligible for arbitration. The only leverage he has is that he’s a cornerstone player that the franchise should want to keep happy.

Lucas Raymond Detroit Red Wings
Lucas Raymond after scoring a goal for the Detroit Red Wings. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Red Wings, though, are in the driver’s seat. They have most of the leverage in this particular negotiation. The only thing working against them, however, is that other priorities—signing internal and external unrestricted free agents—depend on knowing how much cap space they’ll have after finalizing Raymond (and Moritz Seider’s) new contracts.

These leverage points will impact discussions on comparables, term, and salary – three topics that the two sides will likely go back and forth on.

Comparables could be interesting. Raymond’s representatives will likely point to others with similar pedigree – high first-round draft picks playing integral roles on their respective teams. Cole Caufield and Matt Boldy are two players who fit that description.

Another way to approach comparables is through statistical comparison, which the Red Wings will likely do. Players with similar statistical profiles include Troy Terry and Casey Mittelstadt.

And, of course, comparables impact term and salary suggestions from both sides. Term, in particular, will be a negotiation point to watch. Will both sides prefer a long-term deal? Or a shorter, bridge contract? Conventional wisdom says that Raymond will want to capitalize on a career year with a lengthy contract extension. But then again, only he and his representatives know what he wants.

Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s move onto Raymond’s contract projection.

Red Wings/Raymond Contract Projection

My contract model suggested that Nick Suzuki, Troy Terry, and Clayton Keller best match Raymond in terms of production and career trajectory. The details of their contracts are outlined below.

Player Year Signed Term AAV Cap Hit %

Nick Suzuki 2021 8 Years $7,875,000 9.66%

Troy Terry 2023 7 Years $7,000,000 8.38%

Clayton Keller 2019 8 Years $7,150,000 8.77%

With Suzuki, Terry, and Keller serving as comparables, my model suggests an eight-year contract for Raymond, with an AAV falling between $7.7 million and $8.9 million. This does not take into account the assumption that Dylan Larkin’s $8.7 million likely serves as the ceiling on any new deal signed by a Red Wings player.

Given these inputs, the optimal deal for Raymond and the Red Wings is an eight-year, $65 million contract ($8.125 million AAV). This extension would keep Raymond in Hockeytown through the 2031-32 season.

Final Word

As with Moritz Seider, Raymond and his representatives don’t have a ton of leverage, apart from being a cornerstone player. That said, the Red Wings want to maintain a good working relationship with Raymond, and that means treading carefully in these negotiations.

As an aside, it would not be surprising to see Seider and Raymond get matching contracts – the two broke into the league together and are key figures in Detroit’s path forward. 

Related: Projecting Moritz Seider’s New Red Wings Contract

Also worth noting – if Raymond prefers a short-term deal, Trevor Zegras’ three-year, $5.75 million AAV contract would be a good starting point, though Raymond will likely command more salary than the Ducks’ forward. A long-term contract would be a better fit for Raymond and the Red Wings, though.

Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and CapFriendly.

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