Farewell Mason Raymond: winger signs one year-deal with Maple Leafs

It took a great deal longer than we had anticipated, but Mason Raymond finally has a new NHL contract. Just as we suspected, Raymond has aced his professional tryout with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and on Monday, the Leafs gave him his reward: a shiny new deal worth $1 million for one year.

Great deal for Toronto. I think even Canuck fans would take him back at that price.

But now it’s too late, and with that, we’d like to take a moment to say goodbye to one of the most divisive Vancouver Canucks of the modern era. Don’t worry, though — we’re not going to fall all over ourselves. That’s Raymond’s thing, not ours.

Raymond showed a lot of promise early on in his career in Vancouver, playing on the penalty kill and powerplay, finding chemistry with Ryan Kesler. After his 25-goal season, he was voted the winner of the Fred J. Hume award as the team’s unsung hero and re-signed for two years and $5.1 million. It looked like the Canucks had a young, up-and-coming second line winger.

The following season, things started to go awry, however. While Raymond scored at a similar pace at even-strength, his powerplay scoring disappeared, as Kesler was promoted to the first powerplay unit, taking away the second unit’s identity. Raymond scored just 15 goals and continued to struggle in the playoffs.

Then came the darkest moment of the 2011 playoffs, as Raymond got twisted around and checked hard into the boards while bent over in an awkward position. The hit left Raymond with a fractured vertebrae, forcing him into a long recovery during the 2011 off-season.

As clich√© as it may seem, Raymond hasn’t been the same since. While his underlying statistics remained strong even during his disappointing 2010-11 season, they suffered once he returned in 2011-12. Those hoping that it was just a result of missing training time with his back injury were let down when the same was true this last season, even as his point totals slightly rebounded.

Can he turn things around with Toronto? Possibly. After all, considering Toronto’s best players can’t seem stay on the bench during line brawls, and Raymond simply isn’t the fighty type, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to put up points while the rest of the Leafs’ skill players are serving their automatic 10-game suspensions.

While we’re sorry to see Raymond go, as he seemed like a good guy who wanted to succeed, he simply ran out of chances in Vancouver. It was time.

In closing, let’s remember this marvellous goal he scored en route to one of his hat tricks in Calgary.

That will never get old.

With files from Harrison Mooney.

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19 comments

  1. Aaron
    September 23, 2013

    Good Luck in Toronto!!!!

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  2. Andre
    September 23, 2013

    Farewell young man. May you find gentle breezes to fill your sails, rather than the stormy blows that tore your jib and wrecked your keel.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
    • tom selleck's moustache
      September 23, 2013

      Nicely put, Andre.

      I was also among those who had hoped that Raymond would be able to regain the form that he had shown so much promise with after his injury. So to see him struggle and then be let go by the team, you had to feel for the guy. All the best him in Toronto and hope he lights it up over there.

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      Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  3. bergberg
    September 23, 2013

    Watching him in the Sens and Leafs game made my heart hurt. He showcased his speed amazingly in that game, and had an assist and goal to go along with it. At least I will be seeing a lot of him out here.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  4. smj
    September 23, 2013

    uhggg. watching that clip of him getting shoved into the boards. poor guy. I wish him well.

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  5. Tom1040
    September 23, 2013

    Any props coming my way for calling the Raymond departure 2-weeks before last year’s trade deadline?

    “Better hope Gillis trades Raymond at the deadline, or he’ll be gone next year and the Canucks will get nothing in return.”

    I guess not.

    :-)

    Good luck to him. He’ll flourish in the east.

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    Rating: -10 (from 16 votes)
    • Andre
      September 23, 2013

      Tom, why is it such a big deal that your prognostication needs to be highlighted in this forum? Can’t you simply savour the satisfaction by yourself? Would you like a gold star too?

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      Rating: +14 (from 18 votes)
      • Tom1040
        September 23, 2013

        Fair enough, Andre.

        It’s just that I got a lot of grief for the original comment.

        That was my motivation for my less than noble highlight.

        Anyway, my bad.

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        Rating: +6 (from 10 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      September 23, 2013

      I think most people assumed he wouldn’t be back, Tom. But yes, congratulations once again on having one of your educated guesses pan out, and thanks, as usual, for pointing it out to everyone.

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      Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
      • Tom1040
        September 23, 2013

        Here’s another:

        Canucks won’t make the playoffs this year.

        Time will tell.

        Enjoy the game tonight and all the best.

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        Rating: -10 (from 12 votes)
        • akidd
          September 24, 2013

          not sure about your latest prediction. but how about, “tortorella hockey won’t be as exciting to watch as AV hockey?”

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          • PB
            September 24, 2013

            I don’t know — isn’t Tortorella hockey more about high pressure and (at least from TB) more offense than AV? I think Vigneault’s teams in recent years may have had more offense but that’s more a function of personnel than coaching strategy, he’s a d-first coach by inclination.

            I think it’s far too early to predict a Canucks playoff miss and I think that’s a far trickier proposition than guessing that Raymond was going to wear out his welcome which was clear by about the middle of last year as his fade began. Good luck to him regardless, seems like he was a really good guy and well liked by teammates.

            I suppose this means the Leafs give up completely on Franson? This is some really poor cap management by Nonis — their top three paid defensemen are Phaneuf, Liles and Gunnarson? And they’re stuck with the latter two for the next two years?

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          • Tom1040
            September 24, 2013

            Good point, akidd.

            I don’t think Tortorella hockey will be as exciting for several reasons:

            1. the core is older, so they won’t be as productive.
            2. Luongo is an average goalie, so they can’t take as many chances (as compared to having Schneider).
            3. ownership wants playoff revenue (unhappy with previous 2 years results), so they have to play ‘stiff’ hockey.
            4. the team has taken another step back because of their committed salary, so the team, in general, is not as good as last season.
            5. they aren’t in the NW slack division anymore i.e. competition will be tougher now.

            In closing, I think ‘Torts’ is a better coach because he DOES coach. AV, I think, is brutal.

            Nice to converse again, akidd.

            Hope you enjoy the season.

            Kind regards,
            Tom

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    • Collin
      September 23, 2013

      Probably wouldn’t have got anything for him in a trade anyways. The guy was not playing his best hockey and was at the end of a contract. Made more sense to keep him for a long playoff run, rather than flip him for a 7th rounder, or an ECHL level prospect. He’s not exactly going to fetch an Iginla-impending-UFA-level return.

      Good on predicting his departure, but implying Gillis screwed up is silly.

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
      • Tom1040
        September 23, 2013

        Actually, Collin,

        My post did not imply that Gillis screwed up.

        Gillis was mentioned because he is the GM that would have had to orchestrate any trade and that was a quote of my original comment.

        It doesn’t really matter, but just for the record.

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        • John in Marpole
          September 23, 2013

          How fulfilling and complete must be the life of a person who seeks validation by posting “for the record” on a hockey blog?

          Tom, there was probably 20 or 30 thousand people out there who had the same thought about Raymond. The difference between them and you is that 29,999 of that number don’t need to be acknowledged on PITB for reaching that oh-so-obvious conclusion about Raymond’s future.

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          Rating: +2 (from 8 votes)
          • Tom1040
            September 24, 2013

            Well, well, well…

            It’s 20-20 Ms. Marpole.

            Sorry, didn’t read you foretelling much except that Luongo being out of Vcr. was a foregone oh-so-obvious-conclusion.

            Keep trying. You’ll get something right eventually.

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  6. Jason
    September 23, 2013

    My biggest complaint about Raymond was how well he played against Calgary, as evidenced by that hat-trick mentioned. I can understand wanting to put on a show for friends and family in your home town, but where was that effort in the rest of the games? If he played as well every night as he did against Calgary, he would still be on Vancouver’s second line.

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    Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)
  7. akidd
    September 23, 2013

    best of luck to raymond! i’m pretty sure he’s going to do pretty good in the leastern conference.

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