A testament both to a sinking cap ceiling and a fall in the player’s stock, former 25 goal scorer in 2009-10 Mason Raymond went without a contract offer this summer (or at least, he went without one he was willing to sign). The GM who drafted him in the second round in 2005 (Nonis) has invited him to Leafs training camp on a Professional Tryout Agreement.
What we know Raymond can bring is speed, in spades. He’s an elite skater. I know this just from catching a few West Coast HNIC broadcasts and from playing the EA Sports NHL franchise for several years. He would certainly fit the speedy identity of the club if signed. Raymond has a nice wrist shot to go along with the speed, making him dangerous off the rush, but he has been criticized for going ice cold for extended spells and for drifting into long spells of perimeter play. Raymond has also admitted he’ll likely never be the player he once was after breaking his back in a brutal hit in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
In his best season, ‘MayRay’ played with Ryan Kesler for his 25-goal 2009-10 campaign and the pair combined on a very effective second line for the Canucks. The left winger fell back into third line minutes (15 min/game) in the three seasons since, but has regularly received second unit powerplay time (2 minutes/game), where he scored 4 of his 10 goals last season.
Even knowing Raymond has the injury residuals and that he fell out of favour with Vancouver, it seems odd that a player with 10 goals in the shortened season, a 17-goal pace, and 22 points, a 39-point pace over a full season, would be unable to secure himself a one-year contract on the cheap for the upcoming year. Perhaps Raymond is choosing to take this route, rather than sign the perceived low ball offers coming his way, hoping to prove himself worthy of a one year deal earning him something closer to his expected pay range.
An interesting hypothetical to entertain is if Raymond were to really impress Leaf brass in camp. With limited cap space already plus Franson and Kadri hopefully soon to sign, can the Leafs even wedge him in if they wanted to?
The Leafs did lose some wing depth this off-season with MacArthur walking, Komarov returning to Russia and Frattin being traded. There’s no harm in a camp invite on its own (assuming it’s not a precursor to another move, and that Franson and Kadri are signed), so it seems like a worthwhile flyer to take.
Every Goal, 2012-13: Mason Raymond