For years, it seemed as if Lucas Raymond of the Detroit Red Wings and Alexander Holtz of the New Jersey Devils would be forever connected, their on-ice fortunes intertwined.
In the build up to the 2020 NHL entry draft, the two Swedish sensations were paired together in the national junior squad, an unrelated version of the Sedin twins. Projections were that Raymond would be selected somewhere between second and fifth overall on draft day. Holtz was rating to go anywhere from seventh to 10th in the first round draft order.
Both prophecies proved to be accurated. The Red Wings claimed Raymond with the fourth pick. Three selections later, the Devils stepped up to tab Holtz.
Upon arrival to the NHL this season, the impending fortunes of the two interconnected Swedish prospects split off into different directions. They’ll be on opposite sides of the argument on Friday as Raymond and the visiting Red Wings tangle with Holtz and the New Jersey Devils in the NHL regular-season finale for both clubs at the Prudential Center.
Differing Fortunes For Raymond, Holtz
Raymond cracked Detroit’s opening-night lineup. He skated the entire 2021-22 NHL season on the Red Wings’ top line alongside captain Dylan Larkin and often, Tyler Bertuzzi.
“What Razor does a good job of is he’s able to think his way through the game even when he doesn’t quite have his best legs,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “That makes him a pretty complete player. That’s why I think he’s been able to continue to have success, even though I’m sure there’s nights when he doesn’t have his most energy. He still thinks his way through the game.”
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) April 29, 2022
Raymond cracked both the 20-goal and 50-point barriers as an NHL rookie. Although not the favorite – that would be his Detroit teammate defenseman Moritz Seider – Raymond is in the Calder Trophy discussion.
For Holtz, it’s the Calder Cup that’s foremost in his mind. He’s spent the majority of his first North American pro season with the AHL Utica Comets, helping that team finish first in the North Division. they’ll soon be beginning the playoffs.
As a reward for a strong minor-pro season, the Devils gave Holtz a recall to the big club for the final two games of the campaign. In eight NHL games, Holtz is showing just two assists.
Accurate Scouting Report
Tomas Monten, who coached both Raymond and Holtz with the Swedish national junior team, forecast an accurate assessment of the two talents when they were in Plymouth, Michigan for the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase.
“They’re different,” Monten sought to explain. “Alex is more – he’s more of a shooter. He wants to be the last guy on the puck. He’s the guy who sneaks up to the far blueline and finds open spaces.”
— Scott Kinville (@ScottKinville13) April 23, 2022
Holtz is leading the Comets this season with 26 goals.
As for Raymond, Monten’s scouting report was also on the money.
“Lucas, he wants to come down low,” Monten said. “He wants to carry the puck a little more. He wants to carry the puck, he wants to set up plays.
“I think he’s almost like a center but he plays on the wing.”