The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler has released a list of his Top 50 NHL Prospects today, and Lucas Raymond checks in at #5 overall:
If [Cole] Perfetti is a problem avoider, the kind of player whose ability to anticipate helps him stay out of trouble, Raymond’s a problem solver. He’s the kind of player whose puck-dominant skill set can get him into trouble and tough spots. But he’s also uniquely equipped with escaping out of that trouble, whether that’s with a short three-foot pass through feet and sticks when he has pushed into traffic or a deceitful shoulder fake or foot adjustment to pull away. You almost want Raymond getting into trouble because it normally means he’s drawn two or three players to him and everyone else is open. And there’s a risk that comes with his game in that way, and in projecting players like him to the next level when everyone’s bigger and faster. But as Raymond’s opportunity at the pro level has grown to match his skill level, it has become increasingly clear that his poise and comfort when he’s under pressure should translate in the NHL, especially when he’s surrounded by better players. Then you added in a constant willingness to apply pressure and work to get the puck back when he doesn’t have it and an improved shot that he appears more willing to use, and suddenly you’ve got a unique and exciting player.
It has been a ton of fun to watch him look to pull the trigger a little more since returning to the ice for the 2020-21 season in August, because his ability to adjust his feet and his stick all elsewhere on the ice also help him deceive goalies with his shot when he wants to.
Continued (paywall); Moritz Seider checks in at #22 as well:
The thing about projecting Seider is that there isn’t a lot of ‘if’ to it. I’m not convinced he’s ever going to be talented enough offensively or aggressive enough offensively to run a top power play or put up the kind of counting stats that still seem to help the leaguewide notoriety of defencemen. But those are worries of upside, not of making it. He’s going to make it. And he’s likely going to play a lot and be asked to be an all-situations guy when he does. At this point on the board, while there are concerns with some of the players that follow even becoming top-of-the-lineup NHL players, that concern doesn’t exist with Seider. His move up a slot relative to where he was ranked on the summer list is driven, at least a little, by that certainty. I don’t tend to play it safe with my evaluations, but maybe this is me doing that. He really does need to look to the net and look to shoot, rather than deferring to his teammates, when he gets the puck, though.