Lucas Edmonds is one of the highest draft picks from the latest draft to be ranked in our annual ranking. The overage forward has already signed an entry level contract with the organization and is expected to play for the Syracuse Crunch next season.
The Lightning had been scouting Edmonds for a few of seasons now, but he wasn’t drafted because they weren’t satisfied with his results in Sweden. Reportedly, they initially wanted to sign him as a free agent, but Central Scouting insisted that the Swedish forward has to be drafted. There was also the possibility that Edmonds wouldn’t be available by the time the Lightning got around to their pick, so they traded their 103rd and 169th overall selections to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for 86th pick, which was used to draft Edmonds.
Edmonds has a dual Canadian-Swedish citizenship and grew up in North Bay, Ontario, but his father insisted that he’d go to play to Sweden. He played at basically every possible level in Sweden, earning a spot on a National team too and finally returned to North America last season, signing the contract with the Kingston Frontenacs, where he even became the assistant captain. As an overager in the OHL, he had a dominant season, recording 113 (34+79) points in 68 games. That result was the third overall in the league. He also had more points that season than his teammate Shane Wright, top prospect from the last draft, who was selected fourth overall by the Seattle Kraken.
Despite having such an elite teammate, Edmonds’ numbers in the OHL can’t be related with playing on the same line with Wright. Edmonds mostly played on the second line, but really benefited from playing on power play. He has both decent shooting and playmaking abilities, but what made him stronger in junior league is his puck skills and physicality. He’s not the biggest player and not the fastest, but smartly uses his size with his speed. He has a tendency to rely on his stickhandling, he especially loves to deke through the opponent’s defense, which worked pretty well in the OHL, but wouldn’t work as easy in both AHL and NHL. He’s able to create space on the ice and can manipulate defensemen with patience and perseverance.
Skating was also an issue, but he already took some lessons from the Lightning’s skating coaches Barb Underhill and Tracy Tutton during the prospect camp. Speaking of the prospect camp, Edmonds was one of the most impressive players during this event, getting some good feedback from the team. During his season in the OHL, Edmonds was also used on the penalty-kill, which’s obviously makes him more valuable.
The Lightning hope that his abilities could translate immediately to the AHL and he will be definitely an offensive upgrade for the team. Despite being 21-years-old, he still might need time to adapt to North American professional hockey, but if everything goes well, who knows, we might see him as a call-up even during this season. His projected ceiling by many prospect experts is middle-six forward.
One of the most dynamic lines in the #OHL, the @KingstonFronts trio of Shane Wright, Martin Chromiak, and Lucas Edmonds connect for a highlight-reel goal, earning Thursday's #BestOfOHL honours #KGNvsOSH pic.twitter.com/Ax147hYuRo— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 29, 2022