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Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman … Lucas Raymond: 'He's not shy at all'

97.1 The Ticket
97.1 The Ticket
 2021-10-25

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The only thing missing from Lucas Raymond's performance Sunday night was a fight. With three goals and an assist, he joined the company of Gordie Howe all the same. Steve Yzerman, too. Come to think of it, the trio would have made a heck of a line.

Raymond's on a good one as it is. The 19-year-old rookie combined with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi for 10 points in the Red Wings' 6-3 win over the Blackhawks Sunday night and became just the third teenager in franchise history to score four points in a game: Gordie in 1947, Stevie Y in 1983, Raymond in 2021.

"It’s tough to take in," Raymond said. "Those are two of the greatest players to ever play in franchise history. But trying not to think about it that much. Just keep playing, keep working and trying to develop and execute as a team and personally every day."

Raymond's development has Hockeytown giddy. The 2020 fourth overall pick has seven points in his first six NHL games, a big reason why the Red Wings have seven points in the first six games of the season. He's first among rookies in goals and points; a guy by the name of Moritz Seider is first in assists. Raymond doesn't turn 20 until March.

"He’s getting a hell of an opportunity, and he’s earned some of it," said Jeff Blashill, who's played Raymond on Detroit's top line from the start of the season. "He’s in the NHL at a young age, which not lots of guys get a chance to do. And he’s playing with real good players on a real good line and getting important minutes. He’s capitalized on that. It’s great that he had the hat trick, but again, there’s opportunities that he’s getting and he’s gotta keep making sure he's doing a real good job with the minutes that he gets."

Raymond had it all working against Chicago. He scored early in the first when Bertuzzi forced a turnover in the Blackhawks' zone and found him streaking toward the net; Raymond faked a shot and then slid the puck through the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury. He scored late in the second when he drove the net and knocked home a Larkin rebound -- and paid the price by winding up on his stomach. And he scored midway through the third on a power-play one-timer.

It was the second goal, the ugly one, that Blashill may have liked the most.

"Lucas doesn’t shy away from really anything," Blashill said. "He’s taken some hard hits and things like that and he’s not shy at all. He’s got an edge to him, for sure. And he’s certainly not shy about going to the net. But I also think there’s a habitual art that not only do you go to the net, but you gotta stop at the net. And that’s ultimately what he did."

Raymond's on the smaller end of the NHL spectrum at 5'10, but he plays much bigger. He doesn't let his size deter him from getting to the danger areas of the ice. He nearly took a face full of iron when he got knocked down from behind on his second goal and ate a whole bunch of twine instead -- a trade he'll make every time to put the puck in the net.

"If you want to score goals, you have to get into those areas," he said. "You can’t just shoot and score fancy goals. You have to really get in there. That’s usually where most of the goals are scored, so trying to get in there more and more."

These are exciting times for Raymond -- and for Red Wings fans. He's skating on the team's first line and scoring like a couple franchise icons, one of whom happens to be the man who drafted him. He looks every bit like an NHL player, maybe in time an NHL star. Gordie Howe became Mr. Hockey. Steve Yzerman became The Captain. Let's see what becomes of Lucas Raymond.

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