Red Wings Have a Star in the Making With Lucas Raymond

The Hockey Writers

When the Detroit Red Wings used the fourth overall pick in the 2020 Draft on Lucas Raymond, there were high hopes that the Swedish-born forward could become a piece of the puzzle that would eventually lead the organization back to form. After a strong start to his NHL career, it seemed his game had taken a step backward last season. But this season has seen the 21-year-old bounce back and take his game to another level, and he seems to be budding into the star that general manager Steve Yzerman and the rest of the organization hoped that he would be.

Bounce Back Season

After Raymond’s down year last season, coach Derek Lalonde seemed very encouraged and excited to see what Raymond would do to bounce back. He showed up to training camp looking more stout physically, having added some muscle to his frame. Mixed in with the offseason acquisitions that Yzerman made to help bring more offensive depth, headlined by the trade of Alex DeBrincat, the pressure that was put on Raymond was lessened this season to be the go-to guy with Dylan Larkin.

Lucas Raymond Detroit Red Wings
Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings (Evan Sabourin / The Hockey Writers)

With the Red Wings’ season starting strong, Raymond became a big part of that and started looking more like the player he was in his rookie season. As the season has progressed, he has also been one of, if not the most consistent players on the roster. To date, he has played in every game of the regular season while averaging around eight points every ten games. But his offensive game has only been one part of his game that has regained its form and gone to another level. With the added muscle, Raymond has seemingly become more of a physical force on the ice and is showing even more willingness to get into the dirty areas of the ice to make plays, either for himself or his linemates.

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Raymond’s game really shined and went to another level over the two-week period when Larkin was out of action due to injury. In that period (eight games), Raymond single-handedly carried the Red Wings’ offense, tallying seven goals and an assist while the team battled to get going. His play has garnered praise from his teammates and Lalonde throughout the season.

Record-Setting Season for Raymond

Amid a great bounce-back season, Raymond has seen himself join a few lists in Red Wings history that very few are on. This includes being the first Red Wing to score in five straight games before turning 22 (joining Yzerman and Norm Ullman). He is also the league leader in points for players under 22, with 24 goals, 36 points, and 60 points, all new career-highs. He also scored the second most points as a Swedish-born player before turning 22, behind former Toronto Maple Leaf Mats Sundin.

The Future is Bright

Raymond turns 22 on March 28 and has shown that the future could be very bright for him going forward with the organization. This season has become crucial for him as he will head into the offseason as a restricted free agent (RFA) and has undoubtedly played to a level that will most likely see him get a hefty contract extension. The exciting part of Raymond’s development is that there is still plenty of room and time for him to develop even more at his age. If there is even more development to his game, the Red Wings could be looking at a bonafide star for their organization when he finally does reach his true peak.

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As he continues showcasing his strong play this season, Raymond has shown he will be a huge part of the Red Wings organization’s future. Along with Larkin, Moritz Seider, and a handful of prospects in its highly-ranked farm system, Raymond will be a huge part of the organization’s future.

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