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
4 of 4

Current state of Raymond and the Detroit Red Wings

Since 2020 isn’t that long ago, it’s hard to assess the draft class thus far. 

What I can say for certain, I could not ask more of Raymond (or my baby cousin) thus far. Everything from his development, to his overall play, and production have blown me away. 

Another thing, I can’t fathom wanting a different player from the 2020 NHL Entry Level Draft. (I can’t imagine LA Kings fans or Ottawa Senators fans asking more from Quinton Byfield and Tim Stützle or wanting to swap, this draft just seemed to work out perfectly for all 3 teams–an impressive feat.)

I understand the Stützle love, as I very much like him and his game (aside from his attempts to join the Olympic diving team–I still don’t understand why he feels the need to do it, he’s an incredible player who doesn’t need to do those things). He’s a center, something the Detroit Red Wings need. Byfield is a gem too, really rooting for him and LA Kings. 

These players are not Raymond. I think it’s safe to say that neither of them would have the same impact on the Detroit Red Wings as Raymond has since he joined the Detroit Red Wings. Those players are great, especially for their respective teams. 

Just as Raymond has impacted the Detroit Red Wings so positively, I’m not sure that Raymond would have reached this level he’s at currently, especially so quickly, without being part of the Detroit Red Wings organization. 

For his 2023-24 campaign, Raymond finished with a team-leading 72 points (31 goals, 41 assists) He tied Patrick Kane in the number of game winning goals with 3. Rebounding from a quieter sophomore season and first half of the season, Raymond turned up the heat as the season went along. His best games were the most high pressured situations. It’s been a while since the Detroit Red Wings had a player whose game exponentially increases as the stakes raised. 

Raymond is like a sponge, he just soaks up any and all qualities he likes in another player’s game. Then, he adjusts these qualities and applies them to his own game. In some ways, he takes those qualities to the next level.

He had an opportunity to learn from Kane, one of the most successful players the NHL has ever seen, and Alex DeBrincat, a gifted playmaker and scorer. Seeing them in games and practices seemed to have really fast tracked Raymond’s development in terms of offensive skills.

From his shot improving (the release, accuracy, positioning on the ice, etc.) to the playmaking improving exponentially, Raymond is a very impressive player. His skating is as explosive as ever (meaning he gets to his top speed in no time at all), edgework is still top of the NHL, and his north/south speed kicked up a notch, which none of those things had to improve (or at least improve so quickly or drastically).

Sometimes the quickest learners aren’t the best teachers, but Raymond seems to want to help his teammates get better. It could begin to translate to positive results. If his teaching isn’t effective, he can at least inspire his teammates to continue to grow and develop.

More impressively than his on ice improvements, his off ice dedication to his craft is just as impressive. For example, he gained anywhere between 5-11 pounds of weight over the 2023 offseason (depending on the source), even joking the amount of muscle he gained over the summer grows each time he hears it. To have that mindset to improve, but also be humble enough to make jokes about his accomplishments speaks to his whimsical nature.

He knows when to let loose and have fun and, or when he needs to get down to business.

Raymond has a refreshing maturity in the way that he build confidence, mostly coming from his preparation. When he’s prepared he feels confident. Considering his preparations last offseason, it’s no wonder he was so confident and took such a small step for himself and a gigantic leap for the Detroit Red Wings.

Veteran and young players alike would be wise to take his mentality and apply it to themselves.

Team Sweden for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)’s Men World Championship tournament (just starting its tournament) made a surprising, yet well-deserved selection for their captain and alternate captains:

Erik Karlsson serves as the captain along with alternate captains Victor Hedman and Raymond. 

For a player coming off only his 3rd NHL season, I really don’t have words with how proud I am of Raymond.

Also, I can’t wait to see the tips, tricks, and skills Raymond soaks up playing and leading alongside two of the best defensemen the NHL has seen in a very long time.

If it’s not in the immediate plans for the Detroit Red Wings to name Raymond as an alternate captain next season, they need to rethink those plans. Following Team Sweden’s is the best course for all parties involved.

Seemingly, Raymond’s all grown up &...saving the Detroit Red Wings (and helping Team Sweden chase their gold medal).

Next. May 11. Update on Sebastian Cossa Detroit Red Wings goaler prospect. dark