Khan, HSJ, Bultman in the morning: All about Lucas Raymond

Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond “had a night” vs. the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, scoring a hat trick and registering 4 points over the course of a 6-3 Red Wings victory

And all of MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Free Press’s Helene St. James and The Athletic’s Max Bultman wrote columns about Raymond this morning.

Khan focuses on Raymond’s place in Red Wings history…

Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman … Lucas Raymond? OK, nobody is comparing the Detroit Red Wings prized rookie to franchise legends, but for one memorable night, Raymond earned a place next to those names.

Raymond, in just his sixth NHL game, recorded his first career hat trick and added an assist for a four-point night Sunday in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.

The 19-year-old is the first teenager to notch a hat trick for Detroit since Yzerman in 1985 and joined his current general manager (Dec. 23, 1983) and Howe (Dec. 17, 1947) as the only players in club history with four-point games before age 20.

“It’s tough to take in,” Raymond said. “Those are two of the greatest players who ever played in franchise history. I’m trying not to think about it that much. Just keep playing, keep working and try and develop. Actually, that’s a team and personal goal every day.”

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a subscriber-only article which focuses on Raymond’s fearlessness…

Raymond’s most impressive goal was his second, which he earned by driving to the net and putting up with the abuse that comes with going to such a hard area.

“I’ve noticed here the first six games, he’s been a target for other teams,” Larkin said. “They do their homework and watch, and they try to get under this skin, but he hasn’t really let anyone yet. He plays the game the right way.”

That Raymond is playing the right way right away in his first year over from his native Sweden is all the more satisfying for the Wings because of how they got Raymond. In 2019-20, the Wings finished with the worst record in the NHL, winning just 17 games before the NHL shut down March 12, 2020, because of the pandemic. But they were pushed back to fourth in the draft lottery — while the New York Rangers went from the playoff bubble to the No. 1 overall selection. Raymond is making that pick look like the best consolation prize since the Wings settled for Yzerman at No. 4 in 1983, when they really wanted hometown boy Pat LaFontaine.

It’s still early in the season, but Raymond has been a big part of a 3-2-1 start.

“He is getting a hell of an opportunity, and he’s earned some of it,” Blashill said. “But he’s in the NHL at a young age, which not a lot of guys get the chance to do, and number two, he’s playing with really good players on a really good line and getting important minutes. I think he’s capitalized on that and it’s great that he has the hat trick, but he’s got to make sure he keeps doing a really good job with that time and the minutes that he gets.”

And The Athletic’s Max Bultman discusses Raymond’s positive impact upon the team:

Raymond is already on Detroit’s top line, and Blashill made the point Sunday that part of Raymond’s milestone night against Chicago was a product of premium opportunity — albeit opportunity he’s helped earn. It’s true that even many great players aren’t given the chance to skate on a team’s top line and top power play at Raymond’s young age, and that shouldn’t be lost here. And his linemates, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, are off to outstanding starts, too, even beyond their gaudy production. They’ve been Detroit’s two best players, and Raymond is benefitting in a big way from playing next to them.

At the same time, Bertuzzi recently described Raymond as bringing “so much energy and fun to the game,” and Larkin attributed the closeness he’s felt in the locker room so far in part to the team’s youth. Raymond, of course, is a part of that, and so it doesn’t seem like a stretch to wonder if his arrival (and fast start) might also have an invigorating effect on his linemates, both of whom have seen more than their fair share of gloomy nights in the past few seasons.

To see a rookie teammate come in, and to immediately get to share in his joy and success, could be a bonding experience. It’s something the Red Wings haven’t had enough of in their rebuild.

And then, of course, there is the big picture. It does not technically matter where the Red Wings are getting any of this from — the production, the responsibility or the buzz. They needed it all, and they’d have surely taken it from anywhere they could get it.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.