When you check out the tweets mentioning Lucas Raymond throughout November and December, you will discover lots of people freaking out about his “sophomore stoop.” And to be sincere, you may perceive why. He hasn’t scored in his first seven matches this season and has solely assisted two. After lastly recovering and scoring six targets in his subsequent seven matches, he then solely had one objective over his subsequent 15 matches. He did not look fairly like the identical participant Pink Wings followers cherished to see a season in the past.
Properly, that stoop is over and he is taking part in as nicely if not higher than he did at any time final season. On the midpoint of the yr, he had 13 targets and 17 assists. He is on monitor to attain three extra targets than final season’s closing whole of 23. He is additionally on monitor for 60 factors which might surpass his rookie yr whole. Taking pictures share has elevated from 12.5% final season to 18.6%. He shoots lower than final yr, however he takes his possibilities a lot better.
The blade is getting sharper
His final play is the explanation for this increase to his stats. Because of his objective in opposition to the Blue Jackets on Saturday night time, he now has 14 factors (six targets, eight assists) in his final 12 video games. He had solely 16 factors in his earlier 29 video games. This stretch performed an enormous position within the crew’s restoration from their six-game shedding streak in mid-December. The largest instance of this was back-to-back video games in opposition to Winnipeg and Toronto. He had a objective and two assists per recreation en path to a 7-5, 4-1 win.
So what has modified? Initially, the proportion shot via the roof. By his first 29 video games, his capturing share was 13.0% which, to be honest, was increased than his rookie season whole. Nonetheless, his capturing share in his final 12 matches is 37.5% as he has scored six targets on simply 16 pictures. And that final quantity is what’s a bit startling. Solely 16 pictures in 12 video games. Nonetheless, he did kick six targets on this run. He would not get numerous alternatives to shoot the puck, however when he does, they’re main alternatives that he takes benefit of.
He will get these alternatives by placing himself in a wonderful scoring place. His skill to fill lanes in a rush or get into scoring zones when within the zone is taken into account the most effective on the crew. In actual fact, every of those examples was evident within the final two targets he scored.
His success within the energy play additionally elevated, particularly with the puck. He has 5 energy play assists in simply the final 12 video games, and his 14 energy play factors for the season are simply 4 factors in need of final yr’s level whole. His 5v5 numbers are nonetheless not fairly there but, however he is getting higher. His 5 targets at equal energy within the final 12 matches is greater than throughout his first 29 matches, and his eight strengths match his objective whole since that point.
So what’s subsequent?
The largest query going ahead this season is, can he keep consistency? He is been sweaty this season, however it positive appears to be like like what he is doing now’s not a streak. It is his most constant play for the reason that first two months of his profession when he had 22 factors in 23 video games. In actual fact, I might say he is taking part in higher now than he was then. The query can be, can he attain that size of consistency? And if he does, can he proceed? He has the potential to be the 90+ level scorer on this league, however that consistency can be key.
It can even be fascinating what he finally ends up getting round when it comes to attackers. He is performed most of his profession with Dylan Larkin, who’s on a contract yr. Whereas most individuals are not at all envisioning the Pink Wings captain leaving Detroit this season, it’s one thing that can be on individuals’s minds. The larger query is who will be part of them on their facet? We have seen quite a lot of gamers over the previous two seasons from Bertuzzi to Peron to Kubalek to Bergen.
The youthful guys just like the aforementioned Peregrine are the fascinating ones to me. We’ve got seen that Peregrine has been glorious this yr. Would a playmaker like him enable Raymond to be the highest scorer? Or take a look at somebody like Elmer Soderblom who performed rather well in Detroit this yr. May his dimension and skill to create house open up extra areas for Raymond?
And even look exterior of the Detroit system now to somebody like Carter Mazur, who ranks second in all NCAA with 17 targets in 24 video games. Or take a look at Marco Casper, who can play each wing and left positions and at present has precisely the identical bottom line that Raymond had in his final season in Frolunda (I am not kidding btw. Casper has the identical recreation, objective and assists totals as Raymond completed his final season within the SHL on the time of writing). They each have futures in Detroit, and dealing with Raymond may gain advantage each gamers in addition to the Razors.
The purpose is, numerous what a participant’s profession is dictated by isn’t just their ability set. It is who they play with, too. It’s essential to construct chemistry, however you additionally want expert gamers who complement one another. So while you take a look at Raymond’s future, you do not simply take a look at how he is getting higher, which by the best way. You take a look at who he is being paired with, and whereas his wing companion hasn’t been discovered but, there are many choices Detroit has already lined up that might doubtlessly fill the position.
So, with all that mentioned, please cease worrying about Lucas Raymond if you have not but. I used to be by no means apprehensive about him and I do know there are lots of of you want me who watched his struggles and knew he would discover his manner out of it. However there’s been numerous negativity a couple of 20-year-old in his second season within the NHL who simply wants slightly time and slightly assist. Let Coach Lalonde do his factor, let Stevie Means do his factor, and, nicely, let Razor do his factor. I promise you, you’ll really feel so a lot better due to it.