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Photo Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Raymond’s sixth career NHL contest served as a ‘special night’ on all fronts

Amazingly, the 2021-22 season is only six games old for the Detroit Red Wings, and yet, they already seem to have a breakout star on their hands in forward Lucas Raymond.

While the conversation throughout training camp revolved around whether or not Raymond would break camp in the National Hockey League, at this point, it seems the 19-year-old has completely squashed the debate regarding his ability to compete at the highest level of competition.

Reaching his latest milestone Sunday night, the former first-round selection and the rest of his teammates were attempting to end their team’s two-game losing streak, but in order to do so, they first needed to surge past the Chicago Blackhawks. Luckily, their talented young skater, who’s suddenly emerged as a candidate for the Calder Trophy, led the charge offensively in a historic way.

After scoring a pair of goals through the first 40 minutes, providing Detroit with a 5-3 advantage, Raymond ended Chicago’s third-period comeback hopes by potting his third marker of the contest, thanks to a perfect cross-seam pass from captain Dylan Larkin.

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As a result of this celebratory hat trick, Raymond became the first Red Wings skater 19-years-old or younger to reach this accomplishment since general manager Steve Yzerman, which occurred back on Apr. 30, 1985, according to Bally Sports Detroit.

Though there’ll definitely be more memorable moments to come, at this stage of his career, there isn’t much that tops registering your first NHL hat trick – especially at his young age. But most importantly, this incredible performance from the Swedish native helped his club return to the win collum, and above all else, that’s something he can be extremely proud of when looking back upon this historic occasion.

“It was fun, for sure,” Raymond explained during his post-game press conference. “First to get the bounce-back win after a tough night last night [Saturday], and of course to score my first career hat trick. It was for sure a special night.”

Now six games into the regular season, this current group, which has yet to feature injured forward @Jakub Vrána, has already created strong chemistry together and should strengthen those relationships as the schedule progresses. Considering the amount of momentum that was generated Sunday night, that bounce-back victory could serve as a building block for this young group moving forward.

“It feels like we have a great feeling on the team as well, which builds off of that,” Raymond detailed. “So it makes it easier for me and every guy on the team to play.

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“It builds and that’s just what you’re trying to do – build off every game. To take the good stuff and improve on the bad stuff, to build that confidence and trying to get as perfect as possible.”

Proving to be unphased by the toughest challenge of his young career, Raymond has enjoyed plenty of success through six games with the Red Wings, recording four goals, seven points, 16 shots on goal, two blocks and two takeaways over his 15:04 minutes of ice time per contest.

Analytically, the right-hander has quickly become a force to be reckoned with at 5-on-5, resulting in an on-ice 55.4% Corsi For percentage, 58.3% Fenwick For percentage and a 65.4% expected goals for percentage, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

Altogether, Detroit’s top forward line of Raymond, Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi has excelled up to this point of the season, making them an extremely dangerous trio. While it remains to be seen if this group will stick together the rest of the way, for now, they’re doing an exceptional job of complementing each other’s skillsets, which was on full display against Chicago.

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“It’s a complete game, I think he does it right at both ends of the ice,” Blashill discussed. “I think the line’s a good line. They’ve got different pieces. Larks has that energy, can win puck battles. Tyler does a lot of everything, wins puck battles, is hard at the net, has [the] skill to make plays and Lucas is a real smart player, good defensively and is in [a] position to make offensive plays.

“Obviously the line was good from a production standpoint, but I don’t think they were alone. I thought it was a good team effort.”

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