The Maple Leafs have signed Mason Raymond to a one-year, $1 million contract after a strong showing from the 28-year-old winger in his preseason tryouts.
You can’t get too carried away by preseason production, but the versatility Raymond seems to offer and the two-way responsibility he demonstrated – with several strong backchecks and good plays off the half board in the defensive zone, plus his ability to serve on the second penalty killing unit if need be – suggests this was too useful of a player for the Leafs not to sign at such an affordable price.
There was some suggestion going in that Raymond was all speed but little else, like our old friend Matthew Lombardi. While his speed on its own creates opportunities, he showed some vision and the ability to stop up and make nice plays throughout preseason.
The Leafs also just lost a member of their top 6 forwards in David Clarkson for the first 10 games of the season, pending the official suspension, so there’s no doubt the depth is needed.
Where does this leave Cody Franson? Who knows. This leaves the Leafs with around $1,000,000 in cap space with a 23-man roster. The Clarkson suspension means the Leafs need to carry at least 21 just to ice a full lineup. Demoting Liles to the Marlies could open an additional $925,000, but getting Franson under contract without a cap-clearing move first seems impossible regardless. It seems no amount of waiving, demoting, or fidgeting with the roster limit allows enough space for Franson unless there is a trade.
Something has to give, whether it’s moving somebody like Liles, who looks increasingly redundant with the blueline depth on display this preseason, or Cody Franson himself.