The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted an early-morning article discussing Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond’s challenges as he prepares for his NHL debut, and the ways in which Raymond’s linemates can help him along the way:
“[Dylan Larkin] gives anybody he plays with pace, and one thing Lucas has to continue to learn is how to play at that higher pace,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s a really smart player that has to move his feet more, to go get pucks. [Tyler Bertuzzi] is a guy who goes gets puck a lot, Larks brings a high pace and Lucas is a really smart offensive player.”
It’s a fitting compliment for Larkin that he’s now the captain who will center a talented young rookie; six years ago he was the talented rookie and Henrik Zetterberg the captain and center. Larkin repeatedly has raved about how smart a player Raymond is, and Raymond has felt at ease being his linemate.
“Dylan is a great player and a great leader off the ice,” Raymond said. “When I’ve played with him it’s been really, really easy, because he’s a really smart player. He plays with a lot of speed and does everything at a high pace, and has a great mind. He’s easy to read off.”
Raymond and Seider, 20, played in the Swedish Hockey League last season, so they are used to playing with men. But they’ve never faced anything like the rigors of an 82-game schedule.
“There’s nothing like the NHL in terms of the day-to-day competition, the pressure, internally, externally, that you face,” Blashill said. “Part of becoming an elite athlete is mental toughness matters tons. Guys that can take coaching, can take positive reinforcement, can take criticism, and stay pretty even keeled and continue to do what they think is right on the ice are the ones that are ultimately have success. Both of those two young guys have that mental makeup, and I think it will be critical to their success.”