When you check out the tweets mentioning Lucas Raymond throughout November and December, you will discover lots of people freaking out about his “sophomore hunch.” And to be trustworthy, you possibly can 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 Pink Wings followers beloved to see a season in the past.
Properly, that hunch is over and he is taking part in as effectively 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 observe to attain three extra objectives than final season’s closing complete of 23. He is additionally on observe for 60 factors which might surpass his rookie yr complete. Taking pictures proportion has elevated from 12.5% final season to 18.6%. He shoots lower than final yr, however he takes his possibilities significantly better.
The blade is getting sharper
His final play is the explanation for this increase to his stats. Due to his purpose in opposition to 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 position within the group’s restoration from their six-game dropping streak in mid-December. The largest instance of this was back-to-back video games in opposition to Winnipeg and Toronto. He had a purpose and two assists per recreation en path to a 7-5, 4-1 victory.
So what has modified? To start with, the proportion shot by way of the roof. By way of his first 29 video games, his taking pictures proportion was 13.0% which, to be truthful, was larger than his rookie season complete. Nonetheless, his taking pictures proportion in his final 12 matches is 37.5% as he has scored six objectives 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 objectives on this run. He does 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 skill to fill lanes in a rush or get into scoring zones when within the zone is taken into account probably the greatest on the group. In reality, 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 wanting 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 video games is greater than he had throughout his first 29 matches, and his eight strengths match his purpose complete 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, nevertheless it certain seems to be like what he is doing now could be now 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 reality, 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 will probably be key.
It would even be fascinating 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 not at all envisioning the Pink Wings captain leaving Detroit this season, it’s one thing that will probably be on individuals’s minds. The larger query is who will be part of them on their aspect? 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 fascinating ones to me. Now we have 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 exterior 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 at the moment has the identical baseline 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 at 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, a whole lot of what a participant’s profession is dictated by isn’t just their talent set. It is who they play with, too. It’s good to construct chemistry, however you additionally want expert gamers who complement one another. So if you have a look at Raymond’s future, you do not simply have a look at how he is getting higher, which by the best way. 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 probably fill the position.
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 numerous of you want me who watched his struggles and knew he would discover his manner 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 slightly time and slightly assist. Let Coach Lalonde do his factor, let Stevie Method do his factor, and, effectively, let Razor do his factor. I promise you, you’ll really feel so significantly better due to it.