The Athletic’s Max Bultman engages in a thought experiment this morning, pondering whether Swedish phenom Lucas Raymond’s strong start with the SHL’s Frolunda Indians may tip the scales in his favor come draft day:
Raymond breezed through the preseason with four goals and two assists in five exhibitions, including three goals and an assist in his final two friendlies. That’s an impressive showing after he posted four goals and six assists in 33 games at the SHL level last season. While still strong historically for a then-17-year-old, it did leave a bit to be desired relative to his fellow top 2020 prospect Alexander Holtz.
Some of that production was inevitable once Raymond increased his strength and got more playing time. But the fact it’s already begun, at the very beginning of the season and just weeks before the draft, is particularly good timing for the young Swede.
“I think (he) was a little bit too much on the outside last year and the years before that, he was leaning to his strength as a passer — and he is skilled with the puck, and he can really put his linemates in prime positionings too,” [Frolunda coach Roger] Rönnberg said. “But I want him to attack more and be more greedy, to find scoring opportunities by himself. So I think that’s the big improvement this year, that he’s more focused on attacking the net when he’s over the puck.”
In my opinion, the sum of a player’s work over the course of his entire development curve matters a whole lot more than the new data confirming that Raymond is on the right track, and whether the Wings choose Raymond or a North American, I think that it’s a little dangerous to become bedazzled by preseason and early regular season work.