Every Goal, 2012-13: Mason Raymond

Consider the following: Mason Raymond finished tied for fourth in team scoring for the Canucks, just one goal back of Henrik Sedin, two back of Daniel Sedin, and three back of team leader, Alex Burrows. In other words: it was a pretty decent season for him, comparatively speaking. Yet everybody seemed to hate him, and now, in late August, Raymond still finds himself unemployed.

Granted, some of it is Raymond’s own doing. From the sounds of it, he was fairly determined to go to Calgary, and when the Flames passed, some of the other interested parties had moved. In addition, he’s a bit of a drunk ghost, falling down and disappearing fairly regularly. Teams hate that. They prefer guys that are strong on their feet, as they say, and consistent. Raymond has a lot of good qualities but neither of those can be counted as one of them.

But he’s still a pretty good hockey player, as you’ll see in these clips. He’s got great speed, an effective wristshot, and he plays a 200-foot game. After watching him score 10 times, you might even be open to the idea of him returning to Vancouver at a reduced rate. I totally would.

1 | January 23 vs. Calgary Flames

Raymond’s collection of 10 scores begins and ends with goals against the Calgary Flames. Fitting, since he always seems to get up to play them. 10 of his 80 career goals come versus Calgary. This one happens just as Raymond leads the second powerplay unit onto the ice, gliding into the zone just as the Sedins are preparing to leave the ice. Daniel finds him drifting in the high slot, Raymond sees that he has the room to go to his forehand, and he wires the puck through the screen of Blair Jones and into the goal.

2 | January 25 vs. Anaheim Ducks

Quibble all you want with Raymond’s skillset, but there’s no disputing that he’s fast. He shows it on this goal, flying into the zone at breakneck pace while Alex Burrows controls the puck along the boards. After Burrows goes wide on Luca Sbisa and gets past him, he finds Raymond streaking to the net. The first attempt is stopped, but when the puck jumps like the Mack Daddy made it, Raymond bats it in out of mid-air.

3 | January 25 vs. Anaheim Ducks

More speed on display from Raymond in his second of the night, as he races to join Jordan Schroeder on a rush and is rewarded for his effort with a skipping saucer pass. Raymond takes it in stride like bad news and then passes it on to Jonas Hiller, beating the goaltender with a wrist shot to make it 5-0.

4 | February 7 vs. Minnesota Wild

It’s fitting that Raymond gets this goal, because it’s the product of basically everyone in the frame succumbing to the slippies. When everyone is falling down, that’s when Raymond has an advantage, since if anyone knows how to handle chronic falling in the offensive zone, it’s him. It’s no surprise, then, that after a scramble in front of the goal, Raymond pounces on the puck and buries it. (Extra credit to Kevin Bieksa, who conveniently takes out half the Wild penalty-kill when he goes over.)

5 | February 17 vs. St. Louis Blues

Raymond has been the beneficiary of some nice feeds so far in this entry, but the best one might be this pass, courtesy Kevin Shattenkirk. I mean, he probably didn’t intend to set Raymond up for a game-tying gimme in the late stages of a one-goal game, but still. Raymond is in perfect position when Shattenkirk loses control of the puck and winds up putting it right on his stick. And, unlike Shattenkirk, he makes no mistake and ties the game.

6 | March 2 vs. Los Angeles Kings

Be sure to watch this one from the reverse angle, because it’s a whole lot prettier than it looks on first glance. Raymond begins this play, feeding David Booth and then sprinting towards the LA blueline. By the time he gets there, Booth has fed it down the boards to Hansen, who is able to give it right back to Raymond in full flight. Raymond puts it past Jonathan Quick before the LA Kings’ goaltender has a clue what’s going on. Loveliness.

7 | March 14 vs. Nashville Predators

Another beautiful passing play finished off by Raymond. This time it’s an odd-man rush with Jannik Hansen and Andrew Ebbett, the latter of whom does well to slow up just enough to open a passing lane to Raymond on the far side. Raymond gets himself set for the shot, and as Hansen gives him some more space by tying up his man on a beeline for the goal, Raymond sends the puck in the same direction with a blistering one-timer. Thankfully, it gives him no blisters, because he’s wearing protective gloves.

8 | March 23 vs. Los Angeles Kings

This was the lone goal in this game, which meant, with little else to talk about, we gave it a bit more ink in the IWTG than we normally do. Here’s what we had to say about it then:

The lone goal in this one came off the stick of Mason Raymond, and I can’t say enough about his presence of mind at both the beginning and the end of the play. After the puck deflects off of the boards to Jordan Schroeder, Raymond realizes he might be able to get a partial break and turns on the jets to get behind Jake Muzzin. Then, once he’s in alone, he reacts quickly to an attempted pokecheck by Quick, putting the puck five-hole for the goal. Great situational awareness from Raymond.

Not so much from Muzzin. Watch this play a few times and you can see exactly how he gets burned. Drifting out to the neutral zone, marking Raymond, he looks over his left shoulder to see where the puck is and watches it come off the boards towards Schroeder, who could hit Raymond with a pass. Muzzin instantly realizes that if Raymond is smart, he’ll be taking off towards the LA end. He looks over his right shoulder to check. Sure enough, Raymond is smart, so Muzzin takes off after him, but after a few strides, he makes the mistake of looking over his left shoulder again to see if Schroeder is going to attempt the pass. This causes him to lose speed, giving Raymond more room. That means that if Schroeder is making the pass, Muzzin is done. Here’s that moment, in a screengrab I call, “Jake Muzzin realizes he’s screwed”.

In other words, Raymond and Schroeder played it well. Muzzin, less so.

9 | March 24 vs. Colorado Avalanche

This play features some bonus footage of Cam Barker being crappy at defence. Look at him get walked around at the beginning of the clip. It’s a wonder this play ends the way it does. But thankfully, Cory Schneider makes the save after Barker blows it, and Raymond is sprung the other way with the Avs on a change. After breaking into the zone at full speed, he makes a couple head-fakes then burns Jean-Sebastien Giguere to give Vancouver the lead.

10 | April 10 vs. Calgary Flames

Over the course of these 10 goals, we’ve seen all of Raymond’s strengths. His finishing ability, his wrist shot, his speed. But here’s one that surfaces for the second time in these clips: his hand-eye coordination. This is the second goal he’s batted out of mid-air, and he does it here like it’s no big thing. Granted, he has a lot of time to track it after Kiprusoff loses sight of it, because the Flames’ defence is atrocious — someone should probably be where Raymond is. But still, he does well both to get wood on it and to do so after it drops below the cross-bar.

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  1. peanutflower
    August 28, 2013

    Mason’s play has certainly been better of late, but you have to wonder what his back injury did to his career from the perspective of being perceived as damaged goods. Back injuries are never good, and sometimes they pop back up again as a problem later on. Combine that with the physicality of hockey, and I dunno. It would be a shame if that’s the underlying reason for Mason’s unemployment. The Canucks should keep him. I would never have said that two years ago. Or even a year ago. I would trade Mason for Booth in a heartbeat.

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  2. Gary
    August 29, 2013

    It’s the usual problem – player wants more cash than team(s) want to pay. Would Van take him back for something like $750k-$1m, probably. Will he take that, probably not. So he’s stuck waiting for some kind of injury somewhere that creates cap space to leave enough cash for him.

    One year deal to improve his numbers then try again? But would expect as the cap falls there will be more and more players coming off ‘old cap’ deals who will be unable to get the same money they were used to/want. So take what’s on offer or don’t play in the NHL?

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  3. Nee
    August 29, 2013

    “After watching him score 10 times, you might even be open to the idea of him returning to Vancouver at a reduced rate. I totally would.”

    I love the idea of finding value, but this seems to skip past one of the problems with Mason. Where does he fit in the lineup? I thought part of the issue with Mason was: he hasn’t been scoring enough (consistently) to be on the 2nd line, not gritty enough for the 3rd line, and not the typical banger type for the 4th line.

    Although I guess the 3rd line grit/defensive vs, skill concept has been fading away a bit in recent years…

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  4. Brosef Stalin
    August 29, 2013

    Raymond looks like Anakin Skywalker channeling the dark side here

    Bring our Sith lord back GMMG!

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  5. I know nothing Dreger
    September 7, 2013

    I would not resign Raymond – what’s the point? We have too many guys like him – that are okay – not great not bad. That’s fine if we are satisfied with a not great not bad season. We need players with roles – checkers, scorers, fighters, etc. What role would Raymond play? Secondary scorer? I don’t think his production is up to it…and his playoff performances are not exactly inspiring or memorable either..unless you count this phantom body check he throw against Kopitar:

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