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 cliché 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.Tags: Mason Raymond