Fan favourite Mason Raymond re-signs in Vancouver, everyone rejoices

It’s official: when it comes to arbitration, Mason Raymond and Mike Gillis are just big teases.

For the second straight time, the two camps have settled out of court, with Raymond agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.275 million. It’s a 12.5% paycut from last season, which is good news for fans for two reasons: first, because the Canucks now have a smidgen more cap space, and second, because the flexibility has to have returned to Raymond’s spine for him to bend that far backwards.

“At the end of the day, no one should feel sorry for me,” Raymond told the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap, hilariously. Trust me, MayRay, you definitely don’t have to tell Canucks fans not to feel sorry for you.

If the annual Canuck team awards featured a category for the player that takes the most unfair crap from fans, Raymond would be Roberto Luongo’s only competition. He does a lot of little things well, but the big thing — scoring goals — has severely dropped off since he signed his last deal, and when your best contributions take a super-collider to observe, people tend to get upset. This in mind, it’s no surprise that news of his signing has been met with a backlash. But, if it’s possible to put aside your immense hatred for the soft-spoken, tippy, baby-faced Albertan, you’ll see that this is a pretty sizable win for Gillis and Gilman. They made a risky attempt to trim Raymond’s salary, and they were met with almost no resistance.

With the Canucks’ announcement that they’d be taking Raymond to arbitration (known in Westeros as trial by battle), I expected a little pushback. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I find it troubling when my employer tells me I’m not worth the money I’m making. But by settling for such a substantial paycut well before the arbitration date, Raymond’s negotiations appear to have played out more like a woman telling her husband, “I’m leaving you, and I’m taking the cats,” and the husband responding, “Well, I don’t want to be alone, so could you leave a cat behind?”

Rather than push back, Raymond has facilitated a breakup by accepting a very movable deal. As part of a trade package, he could be very valuable, both because his bounceback is a distinct possibility and because, if it doesn’t happen, the team isn’t on the hook for more than one year.

And even if he stays, by agreeing to the single year contract, Raymond has both the opportunity and the motivation to make the Canucks pay next summer. Along with his contract, the restrictions on his free agency expire next next season, so if he manages that bounceback year in Vancouver, he’ll be in line to make a pretty penny on the inflated open market.

Plus, you know he’ll get every opportunity to have that bounceback year since Alain Vigneault treats his top six like a technologically inept cell phone user treats his top five. (They’re set, I don’t know how to change them, so leave me alone.) Frankly, I don’t know if another coach can appreciate and use Raymond as much as Vigneault does. It’s a great situation in which to play a contract year.

In the end, while the deal makes Raymond seem like a bit of a pushover, the deal puts him in a position to have the last laugh. And really, he is pretty easy to push over

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16 comments

  1. Wisp
    July 9, 2012

    Mike Gillis never gives up on a player.

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    Rating: +5 (from 15 votes)
    • Tamara B
      July 11, 2012

      *except Luongo.

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      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  2. SteveB
    July 9, 2012

    I jumped up in celebration and promptly fell down.

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    Rating: +43 (from 45 votes)
  3. PShafer
    July 9, 2012

    You said Raymond has “motivation to make the Canucks pay,” and is “in position to have the last laugh,” and no “Mason Raymond is evil” tag? How did that happen?

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      July 9, 2012

      Aw crap, I forgot. That was part of the joke! *rushes to edit*

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      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  4. sarah
    July 9, 2012

    Congratulations Mason – signed, one of your only fans

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    Rating: +21 (from 21 votes)
  5. Matt
    July 9, 2012

    I’ve always loved Mason and am glad to see him return. Hopefully with his health back he can put up 20 goals, 50 points, and strong underlying numbers and gets a nice pay raise next year.

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    Rating: +19 (from 21 votes)
    • Locky
      July 10, 2012

      Although I agree, i’m not sure I expect that from him. With the time that the 2nd PP unit gets, and a likelihood that he may see time on the 3rd and 4th lines, Perhaps 15/40 might be a better estimate. You’d be hard pressed to convince me that 2.2 is not value for those kind of numbers.

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      Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  6. bea
    July 9, 2012

    You couldn’t find a picture of Mason standing up? Oh well, I’m glad he’s still here. I hope he has a break out year. Can’t wait for the season to start.

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    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  7. Eric Blacha
    July 9, 2012

    He can come back better.

    “but I find it troubling when my employer tells me I’m not worth I’m making” Sounds like ‘is missing a word, which is what. What I’m making.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  8. Fruzenius
    July 9, 2012

    I like MayRay, he has had a bad run and like every player who doesn’t perform how Vancouver perceives they should, crazy Van fans have treated him badly. Hopefully he has some better luck this year, not having to have a broken back instead of training.

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    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  9. Nee
    July 9, 2012

    “Alain Vigneault treats his top six like a technologically inept cell phone user treats his top five. (They’re set, I don’t know how to change them, so leave me alone.) ”

    You guys sure do have a way with words. That bit made me laugh out loud.

    And yay for Raymond. He’s a loyal and nice guy…I like to see that type of person have success.

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    Rating: +17 (from 17 votes)
  10. Nick
    July 9, 2012

    When Raymond first returned from his back injury, a lot of people were surprised by him not seeming to have much rust on him at all.

    In fact, there was a stretch of about 3 weeks in late fall when the goals were going in, he wasn’t falling down, and he was arguably among their best forwards.

    Last summer, while the rest of the league was training for peak performance, he could barely walk … and I have a feeling that this season he won’t be as fatigued by mid-season and will do quite a bit better than casual fans are predicting.

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    Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
  11. Regina
    July 9, 2012

    Game of Thrones reference? You’ve won me over.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  12. Harsh
    July 10, 2012

    Can’t believe a guy would pay an agent to save him a mere 65K off his worse case scenario. Assuming the agent gets 10% , that is 227K to the agent. He should have gone to arbitration with no agent and he would have been better off.

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    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. brian
    July 12, 2012

    more easily broadcasted spin-o-ramas.

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