Red Wings take Swedish winger Lucas Raymond with fourth pick
Of Lucas Raymond, the Wings’ top draft pick, above, GM Steve Yzerman said: “We don’t see any holes in his game.”
The Red Wings have a pretty good history with Swedish players, so – in a way – it was not a big surprise that they took right wing Lucas Raymond, who plays with Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League, with the fourth overall pick of the NHL draft on Tuesday night.
“We think he has all the tools to be an elite forward in the NHL,” general manger Steve Yzerman said.
Raymond played the majority of the season as a 17-year-old in Sweden’s top league, so his statistics weren’t going to be overwhelming – four goals, six assists in 33 games. But he brings excellent skills – speed, explosiveness, stickhandling in traffic and hockey IQ.
Raymond said he thought it helped him a lot to play up in the top league, “not just on the ice but off the ice. (I had) a lot of guys to look up to and really learn from.
“But, also on the ice, it’s a different game. You really have to be strong in the battles, on the boards and take what’s given, really have an attacking mindset.”
NHL Central Scouting describes Raymond as a “mobile, explosive, quick winger with speed and excellent puck control. Smart, effective in traffic, creates scoring chances with quick moves and hard work.”
Yzerman said that Raymond will almost certainly spend the entire 2020-21 season with Frolunda and that the earliest he would have a chance to play in the NHL would be 2021-22.
“Good all-around skills for the game. Very competitive and very smart,” Yzerman said. “We don’t see any holes in his game.”
Kris Draper, Detroit’s director of amateur scouting, said Raymond’s hockey sense and intelligence on the ice kept coming up after a Red Wings scout or representative saw him play.
Now 18, Raymond has a goal and an assist in Frolunda’s first four games this season. But Yzerman said his performance so far this season had no effect on the Wings’ decision to draft him.
Raymond talked about his goals for Detroit. “I’ll try to make an offensive impact, with speed and energy and a high compete level,” he said. “Will try to come with offensive mindset and really want to win and develop.”
At 5-11 and 170 pounds, Raymond took advantage of the long off season by trying to gain strength and bulk up.
“I worked a lot in the gym with our physical coach, trying to get bigger and stronger and more stable and also try to translate that on the ice,” he said. “And, of course, working a lot on the ice as well. I focused a lot on my shot, trying to develop that in different situations.”
Raymond said he had good dialogue with Yzerman and Draper via Zoom calls prior to the draft and had a feeling they might select him. But he didn’t want to get his hopes up.
He called it “a dream come true … especially (with) Detroit – legendary Swedes have played there – so it was extremely exciting.
“I’m so happy and honored to be a part of the Detroit Red Wings.”
Raymond visited Detroit while participating in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth and got a tour of Little Caesars Arena.
“I was really amazed,” he said. “It was huge, with great facilities. At that moment I didn’t really think I was going to end up there because I didn’t have my mind on any of those things, but I remember thinking to be able to play in one of these arenas one day would be awesome.”
Raymond is the Red Wings' highest pick since 1990, when they selected center Keith Primeau third overall.
The first three picks of the draft went as expected. The New York Rangers took Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski, QMJHL) with the first overall selection; the Los Angeles Kings selected center Quinton Byfield (Sudbury, OHL) with the No. 2 pick, and the Ottawa Senators went with German (Mannheim) forward Tim Stutzle with the third pick.
Detroit has nine more picks on Wednesday in rounds two through seven, including No. 32, the first selection in the second round.