Lucas Raymond conducted his first interview as a member of the Detroit Red Wings in the middle of the night.
After when he found out he was the Wings’ selection at fourth overall in Tuesday’s opening round of the 2020 draft, Raymond joined a Zoom call with reporters at around 2:40 a.m. his time — roughly six hours before he was to be at practice with his Swedish Hockey League club, Frolunda.
“It was extremely exciting,” he said. “Especially with a club like Detroit, a lot of good Swedes, legendary Swedes, have played there. I’m so happy and honored to be part of the Detroit Red Wings.”
Raymond is a well-rounded winger who shoots right, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound two-way player with displays exceptional hockey IQ. He described himself as someone who likes to play with “speed and energy and a high compete level.”
Raymond, 18, spent most of 2019-20 in the SHL, registering 10 points in 33 games with Frolunda. He spent the long offseason focused on getting stronger and trying to “translate that onto the ice, and working on my shot as well. I had a long time to work on many different things.”
Given the uncertainty over when the NHL will start — commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday night that Jan. 1 is the target date — it’s likely Raymond will stay in Sweden in 2020-21. He’s in a great spot in Frolunda, and the Wings have local scouts who can check on his development. Raymond said it’s helped him to play with and against men. Frolunda’s captain is Joel Lundqvist, brother of former Rangers standout Henrik Lundqvist.
“It’s a different game,” Raymond said. “You really have to be strong in the battles around the board.”
Raymond spoke briefly on the phone with general manager Steve Yzerman.
“He just wanted to congratulate me and let me know that he was excited to have me,” Raymond said. “And that we would talk this week.”
The pandemic made for an unusual draft: It was conducted virtually, with teams set up at their home bases. Director of amateur scouting Kris Draper announced the pick from a conference room at Little Caesars headquarters, where he was joined by several members of Yzerman’s inner circle.
Yzerman joined the group via Zoom from his home, where he was working after being exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Yzerman has received multiple negative tests and is not experiencing any symptoms.
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