In the event you check out the tweets mentioning Lucas Raymond throughout November and December, you may discover lots of people freaking out about his “sophomore hunch.” And to be trustworthy, 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 objectives in his subsequent seven matches, he then solely had one purpose over his subsequent 15 matches. He did not look fairly like the identical participant Purple Wings followers liked to see a season in the past.
Effectively, that hunch is over and he is taking part in as properly if not higher than he did at any time final season. On the midpoint of the yr, he had 13 objectives and 17 assists. He is on monitor to attain three extra objectives than final season’s closing complete of 23. He is additionally on monitor for 60 factors which might surpass his rookie yr complete. Capturing 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 rationale for this increase to his stats. Due to his purpose towards the Blue Jackets on Saturday evening, he now has 14 factors (six objectives, eight assists) in his final 12 video games. He had solely 16 factors in his earlier 29 video games. This stretch performed an enormous function within the workforce’s restoration from their six-game shedding streak in mid-December. The most important instance of this was back-to-back video games towards Winnipeg and Toronto. He had a purpose and two assists per recreation en path to a 7-5, 4-1 win.
So what has modified? To begin with, the proportion shot by the roof. By means of his first 29 video games, his capturing share was 13.0% which, to be honest, was larger than his rookie season complete. Nevertheless, his capturing share in his final 12 matches is 37.5% as he has scored six objectives on simply 16 photographs. And that final quantity is what’s a bit startling. Solely 16 photographs in 12 video games. Nevertheless, he did kick six objectives on this run. He would not get a whole lot of 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 capability to fill lanes in a rush or get into scoring zones when within the zone is taken into account top-of-the-line on the workforce. Actually, every of those examples was evident within the final two objectives 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 complete. His 5v5 numbers are nonetheless not fairly there but, however he is getting higher. His 5 objectives at equal power within the final 12 matches is greater than throughout his first 29 matches, and his eight strengths match his purpose complete since that point.
So what’s subsequent?
The most important query going ahead this season is, can he preserve consistency? He is been sweaty this season, nevertheless it certain appears like what he is doing now’s not a streak. It is his most constant play because the first two months of his profession when he had 22 factors in 23 video games. Actually, I might say he is taking part in higher now than he was then. The query could 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 might be key.
It’ll even be attention-grabbing what he finally ends up getting round by way of attackers. He is performed most of his profession with Dylan Larkin, who’s on a contract yr. Whereas most individuals are in no way envisioning the Purple Wings captain leaving Detroit this season, it’s one thing that might be on individuals’s minds. The larger query is who will be part of them on their facet? We have seen a wide range 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 attention-grabbing ones to me. We’ve seen that Peregrine has been wonderful this yr. Would a playmaker like him enable Raymond to be the highest scorer? Or have a look at somebody like Elmer Soderblom who performed very well in Detroit this yr. May his dimension and talent to create house open up extra areas for Raymond?
And even look outdoors of the Detroit system now to somebody like Carter Mazur, who ranks second in all NCAA with 17 objectives in 24 video games. Or have a look at Marco Casper, who can play each wing and left positions and presently 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, purpose 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 benefit each gamers in addition to the Razors.
The purpose is, a whole lot of what a participant’s profession is dictated by isn’t just their ability set. It is who they play with, too. You should construct chemistry, however you additionally want expert gamers who complement one another. So once you have a look at Raymond’s future, you do not simply have a look at how he is getting higher, which by the way in which. You have a look at who he is being paired with, and whereas his wing associate hasn’t been discovered but, there are many choices Detroit has already lined up that would doubtlessly fill the function.
So, with all that stated, please cease worrying about Lucas Raymond if you have not but. I used to be by no means anxious about him and I do know there are various of you want me who watched his struggles and knew he would discover his approach out of it. However there’s been a whole lot of negativity a few 20-year-old in his second season within the NHL who simply wants just a little time and just a little assist. Let Coach Lalonde do his factor, let Stevie Manner do his factor, and, properly, let Razor do his factor. I promise you, you’ll really feel so a lot better due to it.