Last Friday, the lottery blessed Los Angeles with winning the No. 2 overall pick. We have already covered a couple players most likely on the Kings’ radar – most notably Quinton Byfield and Tim Stützle. Looking at mock drafts and rankings, it’s a two-man race for second overall.
Or is it?
MayorsManor editor John Hoven suggested potential interest from the Kings on another prospect.
Byfield v Stützle? Covered on @kingsofthepod several times.
Also… Don't sleep on Lucas Raymond. He's teammates with LA prospects Sammy Fagemo and Jacob Moverare in Sweden (Frolunda). Kings knows him well. https://t.co/L09yls1azg
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) June 27, 2020
Date of Birth: March 28, 2002
Weight: 165 lbs
Raymond played most of the 2019-20 season for Frölunda of the Sweden Hockey League (SHL) – this is the highest-level league in Sweden. He accumulated 10 points (4 G, 6 A) in 33 contests.
As mentioned in the above referenced tweet, Raymond played on the same team as current Kings prospects Samuel Fagemo and Jacob Moverare. They have all been teammates since the 2018-19 season when the defenseman joined the club. The forwards have been in the Frölunda organization in some capacity (though not always on the same team) since 2014-15.
Moreover, Raymond has been on Sweden’s international teams with other Kings blueliner Tobias Bjornfot since they were both on the U-16 team back in 2016-17. Raymond, Fagemo, and Bjornfot all won bronze most recently at the U-20 WJC back in January.
To say they are familiar with Raymond would be an understatement.
“We Are the Champions, My Friend”
The native of Göteborg, Sweden has collected a lot of hardware at a young age. He is a back-to-back Champions Hockey League (CHL) champion on Frölunda. For reference, the CHL is an extra league played during the European regular season, which consists of the top teams from each European league.
He has also picked up 10 medals in the past four seasons of international play, including 4 bronze, 4 silver, 2 gold.
Though Raymond has been watched for several years by organizations, he opened many eyes and elevated his stock back in 2019 during the U-18 WJC. In the gold medal game, he scored a hat trick (including the overtime goal) to help Sweden beat Russia, 4-3.
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
The Draft Analyst, Ninth. “Playing either finesse or power game with effectiveness is part of what separates Raymond from most of the pack. He doesn’t get cheated and tries to impact the game at all times with or without the puck. He certainly likes to be in control and run the possession from as early as retrieval behind his own net. You can tell he’s processing multiple options in a relatively short period of time before making a decision, and an oft-used methodical approach into enemy territory still frightens defenders into backing in well off the line. Once he’s inside the zone, you’re at his mercy, as Raymond is incredibly effective off the cycle and shows a clear understanding for set plays. If he isn’t a student of the game, then he sure knows how to play like one, as he’s too fine a playmaker and passer to not know what the opponent is thinking.”
Future Considerations, Fourth. In their final rankings, they compliment his high motor, skating, and hockey IQ which makes him a dangerous two-way player.
Hockey Prospect, Eighth. In their Black Book, they juxtaposed his physical lack of readiness against his ability to take advantage of the skills he possesses, which made him a hard read. When breaking down specific traits, his highest rated attribute was his skill – a 9 on a scale of 3-9.
See For Yourself
Raymond’s game was broken down by Will Scouching, who has a channel tracking the games of several draft eligible prospects.
Raymond is not listed as a top-2 player by any independent scouting service. Keep in mind, though, organizational lists vary quite a bit (this is why a player like Anze Kopitar or Gabe Vilardi fell to 11th overall).
Raymond played fourth line minutes in one of, if not the, top European professional leagues as a 17-year-old. His numbers don’t stand out as a result, yet we can’t stress enough the importance of context. A player like Elias Pettersson didn’t even play in the SHL in his draft year.
He’s exclusively a winger. While this doesn’t get pointed out as advocating drafting for need, he would check another box if the Kings determine him as the best player available.
The independent scouting reports don’t have too many criticisms of his game, save for lack of physical readiness. This can be addressed with time. He set high expectations with his U-18 heroics in 2019, and was then put in a position where he couldn’t meet them the following season, which gives evaluators pause.
What we do know is Rob Blake, Mark Yannetti, and the rest of their scouting staff don’t plan on anymore top picks anytime soon. They are going to do their homework to make this top pick count.
NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.