Baby of the Detroit Red Wings is all grown up &...?

Team Sweden has named its captain and alternate captains for the IIHF Mens World Championships. Although surprising, this alternate captain selection is well earned. He’s seemingly all grown up and making waves. The Detroit Red Wings should take notes.
Sweden v United States - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia
Sweden v United States - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia / PressFocus/MB Media/GettyImages
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As lottery balls fell, so did our hero’s draft stock

As Detroit Red Wings fans' dreams of picking 1st overall circled the drain, Raymond’s draft stock fell as well.

Prior to his draft year, Raymond was in the discussion for being a top-3 pick in his draft class with whispers of being in contention as a 1st overall pick. 

Up until his draft year, Raymond’s resume was impeccable. Arguably, the pinnacle of his career to that point (even possibly now) was when he scored a hat trick on one of the most highly touted NHL goaltending prospects in Yaroslav Askarov. 

The final goal of the hat trick came in overtime in the gold medal game of the tournament. Talk about clutch (there are other highlights in this compilation, as well):

As he played for his very successful Swedish Hockey League (SHL) team (the top men’s league in Sweden), Frölunda, he faced the highest competition in his career. 

His team is notorious for developing excellent prospects and boasting a terrific roster each season. With this greatness, the team is known to roll its lines in such a way that young players like Raymond see minimal ice time and roles on the team.

As such, Raymond’s production left much to be desired (in terms of offensive output). It was a stark contrast to his fellow draft prospects who played in junior leagues in North America and in Germany, which is not a the same level of competition as the SHL. 

Raymond could have chosen a path of less resistance. He could have traveled to North America to play in its junior leagues, but he wanted to play at the highest level of competition as possible. If it meant dropping in his draft slot, he didn’t seem to mind.

The way he was utilized in Frölunda made him a difficult player to watch for scouts as well, as some games he would see 1-2 shifts as a 13th (extra) forward. It’s difficult to assess a player in such a small sample size.

However, anyone paying close attention could see flashes of Raymond’s future. A feisty, hard-working, hungry player who wants to win. No matter the cost, he will put his team on his back and make it happen.

It brings me back to the Winged Wheel Podcast and the in-depth prospect analysis they provided. Even before this segment, Brad Krysko, one of the hosts of the show, touted Raymond to anyone who would hear him. Here are a few quotes from this specific video showcasing the support Krysko has always had for Raymond:

“I think that if Lucas Raymond is drafted by the Red Wings, he is their best prospect by a country mile and it’s not particularly close. I would expect within 5 years that he’s the best player on the Red Wings. He’s that special…

He is just so dynamic. That is the word that just jumps to me. He makes things happen however they need to happen…there’s nothing to not like about his game. He’s exciting and skilled.”

Brad Krysko of Winged Wheel Podcast