Let’s be honest: Mason Raymond had a crap season. A year after a 25-goal, 53-point campaign earned him a two-year, $2.35 million deal just moments before his arbitration hearing, Raymond took a step backwards, posting 10 fewer goals and 14 fewer points. Now, for someone like Henrik Sedin, whose playmaking skills are more meaningful than his occasional goals, a dropoff in goalscoring isn’t a major concern. For a finisher like Raymond, who tends towards solo dashes and can, frustratingly, forget he has passing options, 10 fewer goals is an enormous problem.

Some will say that Raymond was inconsistent, but that’s not quite accurate. He wasn’t; he was consistently unproductive. He scored in only 11 games, never scored in back-to-back games, and never scored more than three goals in a month. He scored only two powerplay goals, six fewer than the season prior, and while some of this had to do with the changes the Canucks made to the first unit — namely, putting Ryan Kesler on it and playing it a lot more — too much of it had to do with Raymond simply playing ineffective hockey. To make matters worse, Raymond was hampered by injury troubles all season: first his wrist, then his thumb, and, once the playoffs rolled around, his tough season took a sharp turn for the worse when he broke his back in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Whether or not Mason Raymond can get back to his level of play from two years ago will be one of 2011-12′s largest storylines. Once his back is rehabilitated, Raymond will be dropped straight into a contract year and, considering the glut of middle six wingers, he’ll be in tough to earn the juicy second line minutes he was getting in 2010-11. If he hopes to keep that coveted spot alongside Ryan Kesler, he’s likely going to have to score with a little more regularity than he did last season. But let’s not look forward. Let’s go back in time, to the 15 goals Mason Raymond scored in 2010-11.

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1 Oct. 17 vs the Carolina Hurricanes

Five games into the season, Mason Raymond scores his first, a tap-in after a Jeff Tambellini backpass makes its way through a maze of skates and right onto his stick. His relief is both palpable and understandable. Not only are the Canucks 0-3-1 at this point, but Raymond has already come into question for his lack of production. Two things to notice in this clip: 1) Mikael Samuelsson holds onto the puck forever, and 2) there’s a guy in the stands with an I [Heart] Raymond sign, but the heart is obscured by the netting, so it looks like his sign says “I Raymond.” Sounds like a Ray Romano movie with robots.

2 Oct. 17 vs the Carolina Hurricanes

Mason Raymond’s second of the year (and night) comes on a patented Sedin feed from behind the net. After Daniel shakes off Tim Gleason (ingeniously stepping into Tim Gleason’s crosscheck to send Gleason back while he’s propelled forward), he feeds Raymond in front for another easy one. Joe Corvo needs to take away Raymond’s stick here, but he doesn’t, which is likely why he’s so mad.

3 Oct. 26 vs the Colorado Avalanche

Raymond’s third of the season is an overtime winner versus the Colorado Avalanche, and it’s a weird one. Off a lost draw, Raymond attacks rookie Avs defender Jonas Holos, who is foolishly taking the puck in front of his own net rather than behind it. At the exact moment Holos attempts to throw the puck behind the net, Raymond reaches him for a surprise pokecheck. The result? The puck jumps toward the goal like a man that’s completed his bucket list leaping gleefully into the grave. It beats an unexpected Peter Budaj to end the game.

4 Nov. 13 vs the Toronto Maple Leafs

A foot inside the blueline, with no screen, no net presence and no deflection, Mason Raymond blows a slapshot through JS Giguere. If you’re wondering why Toronto fans embraced James Reimer like he had come down from a mountaintop flanked by Moses and Elijah, it’s because Maple Leaf goaltenders were prone to do crap like this.

5 Dec. 1 vs the Calgary Flames

Raymond’s fifth goal comes on another lucky bounce, as his attempted shot (or centering pass) caroms off of Brendan Mikkelson’s left foot and into the goal. But don’t lose confidence just because we have yet to see a Raymond goal that wasn’t in some way lucky. While the goal itself is a fluke, Mikkelson is only at the far side of the net because of the nifty move Raymond made to leave him there.

6 Dec. 1 vs the Calgary Flames

You probably already know that Mason Raymond is fast, but here’s a reminder. After Manny Malhotra chips the puck up the side boards on a penalty kill, Raymond pounces on it and takes off. By the time he reaches the offensive zone, he’s got a full car length on everybody, and his move to beat Miikka Kiprusoff is a beauty. But don’t be fooled: Raymond’s fast; he’s not that fast. The separation is actually created when Malhotra slyly crosses in front of Jay Bouwmeester inside the Canucks blueline, forcing the Flames’ defender to lose a step. Then, to add insult to injury, Malhotra stops skating once he’s out in front of all three Flames coming back, opening up an even wider gap.

7 Dec. 1 vs the Calgary Flames

Not even 365 days since his first career hat trick came versus the same team in the same building, Raymond notches his second. The hat trick goal comes on a surprise one-timer from just above the dot, as an off-balance Raymond takes a Mikael Samuelsson feed and catches Miikka Kiprusoff unawares with a knuckler. Thing to note: Samuelsson’s head fakes before he makes this pass. No one else on the Canucks uses head fakes with the regularity or effect of Mikael Samuelsson. He’s like OMG cat.

8 Jan. 2 vs the Colorado Avalanche

A few games after his hat trick, Mason Raymond would be sidelined for nearly a month with a thumb injury. In his first game back in the lineup, skating limited minutes on the fourth line, he would score his eighth. The play begins when Kevin Bieksa leads a fourth line rush into the neutral zone, throwing a puck at Craig Anderson from the side of the net. The rebound squirts to Raymond, who puts the puck off the side of the net. The fourth line keeps the pressure on, however, and after a lucky bounce off the glass, the puck bounces right back to him in front. This time he makes no mistake.

9 Jan. 24 vs the Dallas Stars

Raymond scores here on the deflection of an Alex Edler point shot, but he also makes this play happen by beating Stephane Robidas twice. The first time comes when Mikael Samuelsson dumps the puck into the zone and Raymond blows by Robidas to ensure he’ll be the first one to it. Robidas rides him into the boards for his troubles, but it takes both men out of the play, leaving Samuelsson to retrieve the puck and send it to Edler. Then, Raymond beats Robidas a second time, getting out in front to tip the shot past Kari Lehtonen.

10 Feb. 2 vs the Phoenix Coyotes

Raymond creates his 10th of the season almost entirely on his own. After Phoenix wins a draw cleanly into their own zone, Raymond chases down Keith Yandle, closing on him in a hurry and knocking the puck into the corner. Then, he goes straight to the net, and fights off a lazy check from Derek Morris to tip in a pass from Mikael Samuelsson. Yandle and Morris receive a death glare from Ilya Bryzgalov for letting Mason Raymond makes fools of all three of them.

11 Mar. 1 vs the Columbus Blue Jackets

While Raymond seal the deal on this goal with that beautiful backhand deke he loves so much, it’s Ryan Kesler’s speed and strength that makes this one possible. After chasing down Jan Hejda, Kesler muscles him off the puck along the wall just inside the Blue Jackets zone, turning a 2-on-2 into a 2-on-1. Sami Lepisto plays this terribly, charging to the boards then changing his mind and coming to a complete stop. Raymond blows by him, and Kesler finds his winger as he streaks to the net.

12 Mar. 10 vs the San Jose Sharks

Raymond’s twelfth comes on a lucky bounce off the end boards (so many lucky bounces, good grief), as Mikael Samuelsson’s shot goes wide to the left of the net, then comes out the other side to Raymond. Antti Niemi loses this puck behind a screen, and by the time he discovers where it is, Raymond has beaten him to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead.

13 Mar. 25 vs the Atlanta Thrashers

Mason Raymond opens the scoring in Atlanta with a slick wrist shot, but he had a lot of help on this one. Not only does Raffi Torres do a great job to intercept this puck and start the rush, but Johnny Oduya helpfully takes himself out of the play to turn it into a 2-on-1. Not to be outdone, Mark Stuart does little to give Chris Mason confidence the pass isn’t an option, which means Mason stays open, ready to slide across, and the other Mason puts it through his fivehole.

14 Apr. 7 vs the Minnesota Wild

Raymond is the goalscorer in this clip, but the gold star has to go to Jannik Hansen, who makes a picture-perfect cross-ice pass to set him up. It remains to be seen if Hansen can earn a permanent spot in the top six next year, but plays like this show he definitely has the vision and hockey sense necessary to handle the promotion.

15 Apr. 7 vs the Minnesota Wild

Speaking of playmakers, Daniel Sedin one-ups Jannik Hansen later in the same game, providing an even prettier setup for Mason Raymond’s second. This one is all mind games, as Daniel comes flying into the zone at full speed, forcing rookie Wild defender Justin Falk to, presumably, follow to him the outside. Then, as Falk vacates the front of the net, Daniel suddenly comes to a complete stop, and Falk realizes he’s been had. He tries a redemptive pokecheck but Daniel gets him again in an instant, lifting Falk’s stick and sliding the puck to a streaking Raymond for the finish.

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6 comments

  1. peanutflower
    August 12, 2011

    While it will take more than this compilation to convince me that Raymond is all that, if in fact he is ever able to get back to speed, one has to seriously wonder if all of the Canucks’ “lucky bounces” were used up last year. I hope not! I hope that the number of lucky bounces a team gets is directly tied to their skill and speed and karma. I really hope that. I have all of my Canucks TV shrine items ready to go and I don’t wanna be disappointed.

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  2. steviewire
    August 12, 2011

    Odd that Ryan Kessler only set up one of Raymonds’ goals. Perhaps they are not complimentary players. Interested to see how many of Kesslers’ goals Raymond factored in on.

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  3. ArtemChubarov
    August 12, 2011

    “Raymond simply playing ineffective hockey.” No!!!! The percentages went against the guy, but his defensive play was solid, and he even demonstrated some ability to line-up at center after Malhotra went down! He may have taken a step back offensively, but he was still an “effective” top 6 forward last season.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      August 12, 2011

      Disagree, in a sense. I think Raymond was and is a an effective forward, and I agree that he did all right as the centre of a third line in which little was expected. But as a top six forward, which is what he’s supposed to be, he wasn’t particularly effective. He negated far too many of Ryan Kesler’s chances, too often the play died on his stick, and he didn’t put up the numbers. But he also had flashes of brilliance, and I’m confident he’s a better player than he showed through last season.

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  4. crystal
    August 12, 2011

    I think you would also have to look at all the “unlucky” bounces that Mayray also had last season instead of just focusing on the amount of lucky bounces that he had. I remember thinking to myself about how unlucky mayray was.

    I am biased dough, as I really like his speed.

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  5. immie_8
    August 12, 2011

    My, listening to the commentary on Raymond’s third goal in the Calgary game kind of makes me want to see an “Every goal that the Canucks have scored against Miikka Kiprusoff” entry (or series). Raymond’s goal against Kiprusoff two Christmases ago from the redline is still a classic! ;)

    Hopefully Raymond has a bounceback year – he’s certainly got plenty to motivate him.

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