Photo courtesy of hockeymagasinet.com
When it comes to prospect development in Europe, Frölunda HC is renowned as one of the best systems for prospect development. Frölunda HC has had the most players drafted by NHL teams in Europe. Since 1981, 82 players from Frölunda HC have been drafted by NHL teams including Calle Johansson, Daniel Alfredsson, Per-Johan Axelsson, Henrik Lundqvist, Rasmus Dahlin, John Klingberg, Robin Lehner, Loui Eriksson and Erik Karlsson. All of these current NHLers and former NHLers began their professional hockey careers at the Scandinavium (Frölunda’s home rink) in Göteborg, Sweden.
This summer, Frölunda HC has another marquis name that will be selected early on in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and that is Lucas Raymond. Raymond was born in Göteborg and has played in the Frölunda system for his entire playing career.
The Swedish right-winger appeared in 33 games for Frölunda HC, in which he tallied four goals and six assists. In addition, he played nine games in the SuperElit for Frölunda HC J20, six games in the Champions Hockley League for Frölunda, seven World Junior games for Sweden U20 and 15 games for Sweden U20 at the international junior level.
In terms of production, he had the most offensive success with Frölunda HC J20, but you have to keep in mind that when Raymond was playing in the SHL, his time on ice was quite low. Throughout his time in the SHL, he played on the third and fourth line. If Raymond was given more ice time this season, he more than likely would have posted higher offensive numbers. This is a very common situation for many Swedish draft eligible prospects playing in the SHL including Alexander Holtz of Djurgårdens IF and Noel Gunler of Luleå HF, who both had low time-on-ice numbers this season.
With that being said, he posted a solid pNHLe of 46.5 (pNHLe solely measures his performance from his 33 games with Frölunda at the SHL level). Raymond’s pNHLe might be significantly lower than prospects like Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves, Alexis Lafrenière of the Rimouski Océanic, Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks and Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers, but pNHLe is not factoring in playing time and the SHL is a lower scoring league. In fact, this season, there were only four point per game players in the SHL.
Given his aggressive speedy playing style, I would have a hard time believing that he is not capable of posting 70-90 point seasons in the NHL. No matter what zone Raymond is in, he constantly plays the puck. You can expect robust forechecking and backchecking attempts as he looks to secure the puck. Raymond also possesses a long stride, which allows him to accelerate up and down the ice. In the offensive zone, Raymond runs the cycle quite well and is a robust playmaker.
More than likely, Raymond will be a top five selection on draft night. Several draft analysts including our own Cam Robinson and Tony Ferrari have had Raymond in their top five all year long. There is plenty of potential for Raymond in the NHL and could be an elite player in a few seasons.
In addition to Raymond, Frölunda HC has quite a bit of 2021 draft eligible and 2022 draft eligible talent. Left-handed defenseman Simon Edvinsson and left-winger Fabian Lysell are both eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and could be first round stashes. For the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, centerman Otto Stahre and centerman/left-winger Ludwig Persson could walk onto the draft podium.
The future is certainly bright for Frölunda HC. With the amount of talent that has walked through the locker room doors at the Scandinavium, there is quite of bit of interest in talented Swedish hockey players playing for Frölunda. It is fair to assume that Frölunda could pass the century mark of players being drafted into the NHL by 2030.
Thank you for checking out my post on Frölunda HC. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, you can find me at @JoshTessler_