Canucks Re-Sign Raymond, Avoid Arbitration

Thomas Drance
July 09 2012 12:16PM

Oft-criticized Canucks winger Mason Raymond, who struggled mightily upon returning from broken vertebrae last season, re-signed with the Canucks today. The deal means that Raymond and the Canucks will avoid what was sure to be a contentious "cut down arbitration" hearing.

Here's the official press release from canucks.nhl.com and here are the terms of the new deal, as per Darren Dreger:

Read past the jump for more.

This is the second time in the past two summers that the Canucks and Mason Raymond have reached an agreement on a contract rather than head to arbitration. In the summer of 2010, Mason Raymond and the team agreed on a two-year 5.2 million dollar deal on the eve of Raymond's hearing. At the time, Raymond was coming off of a 25 goal "career year," and getting him locked up on a two year deal with a relatively low cap-hit represented enormous value.

This summer, after seeing his production, ice-time and underlying numbers crater - Mason Raymond had little leverage. In fact, the team didn't even qualify him as they normally would've. Rather, they took active steps to try and reduce his salary.

Raymond's qualifying offer would've entitled him to 2.6 million this summer, but by electing to take him to arbitration instead, the Canucks sought to reduce Raymond's salary by as much as 15% (2.21 million dollars). Basically, Mason Raymond is only going to be making 65k more than the absolute lowest amount an arbitrator could've awarded him. In this case, Raymond waved the white flag and decided to take significantly less than his qualifying offer should've been worth rather than go through with what probably would've been an extremely acrimonious arbitration process.

As a signing for the Canucks, this deal makes sense. Mason Raymond was inarguably woeful last season, no doubt about that, but in every season prior to that - he'd been a useful player. Canucks fans turned on Raymond when the percentages got away from him in 2010-11, but that's wrong-headed nonsense, and it was only really last season that Raymond struggled.

The big issue with Raymond, is that he does a lot of "little things" that fans tend not to notice. He's not a big hitter, and he doesn't finish particularly well - but when he's on his game he drives play (which earns the Sedins extra offensive zone opportunities) and uses his speed to draw a whole whack of penalties (which earns the Sedins extra power-play opportunities). 

Considering the consistency of Raymond's performance up until this past season, the nature of the back injury he suffered only 13 months ago, and his inability to train last summer - I think it's a reasonable bet that Mason Raymond will rebound this season. And if he doesn't? Well at least on a one year deal worth 2.275 million, there's really no risk to the Canucks. The majority of the fan-base may not like it, but what do they know anyway?

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 DCR
July 09 2012, 12:25PM
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I liked it as soon as I saw "1 year." It gives him a chance to come back and prove he's worth more; and the Canucks a chance to limit their exposure if he can't come back all the way.

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#2 Beantown Canuck
July 09 2012, 12:45PM
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If the Canucks somehow do land Doan, as per the latest rumor, there's no spot on this roster for Raymond. Top 6 wingers would be Burrows-Sedin, Booth-Higgins, Doan-Hansen. Raymond I would expect to be packaged with Lu in exchange for a legit L3 center + prospect. That's my bet.

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#4 BrudnySeaby
July 09 2012, 01:34PM
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Possible. But expect Doan to play on the 2nd line. If, and let's hope he does, he signs with the Canucks. But even then, the Canucks might try to keep Raymond as we don't want to be short on wingers again once the play-offs start.

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#5 Beantown Canuck
July 09 2012, 01:37PM
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@BrudnySeaby

There's still Kassian who will hopefully make a leap forward this season and can be placed on any line if things go well. Jensen and Ebbett also a possibility.

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#6 Graham Swalling
July 09 2012, 01:41PM
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I'm halfway between content and excited with the signing.

For one, its clear that there's more to Raymond than was shown last year. Like Thomas I feel his intangibles (including his under rated back checking, and ability to push defenders back...creating room) are vastly overlooked for those only interested in goals.

However - he is light weight and while speed goes a long ways he looks suspect against players that use their body to diminish his speed.

Personally I think he could work on a third line with Hansen in the right (see non defensive/more transition) situations (paired against other 3rd lines)

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#7 Fred-65
July 09 2012, 04:31PM
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I don't know about this signing. The canucks can't keep loading up with journeyman forwards, it puts to much emphasis on the Sedins to carry the load. You can't sign the big name/difference makers if the roster is full of to many mediocre journeymen. To me this sounds like a reclamation exercise ... some thing like Sturm last summer. Is MG tough enough to make the tough decisions ?

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#8 antro
July 09 2012, 07:52PM
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Sorry, why are we hoping that Shane Doan signs with the Canucks? Is it because we think that Alexander Semin would cost the Canucks too much? All the staterati sites are salivating over Semin (including our own Cam Charron), because he would be a signing that is buying low, and his underlying stats are so good. Perhaps I missed it, but what's the case for signing a 35 plus year old over the 28 year old Semin?

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#9 KleptoKlown
July 09 2012, 08:26PM
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Good signing, they get him for a lesser cap hit, and you know he's going to be properly motivated this season. I hope they don't trade him during this off season. His value is pretty close to rock bottom. A broken back followed up by a horrible year doesn't exactly get other GMs lining up making offers. He's going to be motivated, so give him a chance.

...then trade him at maximum value mwahaha!

As far as Doan vs Semin, all things considered, I'd take Doan over Semin. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't complain for a second if the Canucks got Semin and not Doan, but Doan is the only one that realistically has a chance of signing in Vancouver.

From everything I've read, Semin is trying to get every last penny out of this contract. Players like this tend to become disappointments. Stats only tell you about stats. Personality interjects limitless variables that stats cannot account for.

Shane Doan plays with heart and emotion, he's been loyal to a team that has had an unstable future for years.

That type of personality is exactly what the Canucks are missing, and have been missing since Linden retired.

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#10 Emerys
July 09 2012, 08:35PM
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What does Raymond give you that Hansen doesn't?

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#12 antro
July 10 2012, 07:56AM
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@Kleptoklown Take a look at what Cam Charron has posted at LeafsNation on Semin, and also Jeff Angus (who posts here too): http://www.anguscertified.com/alexander-semin-and-ignoring-the-10-percent/

I don't agree with "Stats only tell you about stats. Personality interjects limitless variables that stats cannot account for." Tim Thomas is widely recognized to have a terrible personality, and be a pretty bad teammate. So much so that he's been pretty much jettisoned from the team he won a cup with. Yet what a playoff he had last year, eh? Patrick Kane? Patrick Roy? We could go on. This accounts for nothing.

The stats that people like Thomas and Cam are using have been reliably shown to predict winning a certain amount of time (say, it accounts for 40%, or the something on that order). Of course, there is always luck involved. Sometimes you get bounces and sometimes you don't. So I guess, if you want to choose who you'd rather lose with, you'd rather have Doan. If you're more interested in who's going to give you a better chance to win, you'd have to go with Semin. (Other things, like salary and term, being equal, of course.) From everything I've read, I'm pretty sure that the team who signs Semin will get better bang for buck than Minnesota who went into a bidding war for Zach Parise.

In fact, a team like the Canucks that already has an established set of stars and leadership core would probably be a better fit for a player like Semin, since there would be no onus on him to take leadership. The question is would the Canucks have cap space for him (after trading Luongo?), and would he be interested in coming.

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#13 KleptoKlown
July 10 2012, 01:27PM
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@antro

@antro

I am new to Corsi numbers, and still haven't been able to wrap my head around them. No argument that they're more useful than a players +/-...Once I start to properly understand them.

I stand by my personality comment though. Tim Thomas didn't become a distraction until after he snubbed the White House. No one was saying anything negative about him up until then. Thomas was shown the door. His Conn Symthe and Veznias meant nothing when it was determined his distractions off the ice had more of a negative impact on the team than his performance on the ice having a positive impact. I am sure that decision was made easier with Rask waiting in the wings though.

Thomas, Roy, and Kane have all won the cup, therefore, certain personality quirks can be overlooked so long as the teams continue to play well. Semin hasn't won anything.

Semin is also Russian. I don't think I have to say anything about Russian reputation. Pretty sure Yashin is still collecting a paycheque from the Islanders.

"All things considered" is the key component in choosing Doan over Semin. Contract term, cap hit, Vancouver's media, and the general Canucks fan are all reasons Doan would be a better fit, even though stats don't account for these factors.

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