In today's WTE we feature hometown boy, Mason Raymond. The Flames signed him to a contract worth $9,450,000 over the course of three years ($3,150,000 AAV) and a modified no-trade clause to go along with it. Hopefully that last part won't bite us in a few years, but chances are we won't have to worry about until maybe the final year of his contract.
He spent last season with the Toronto Maple leafs where he accumulated 45 points which is his highest point total since 2009-2010 when he scored 53 points with the Vancouver Canucks. He played with the Canucks for his first six years until he hit the free agency market and signed with Toronto for one year.
After the signing, he talked to the Calgary Sun about his expectations heading into the season:
"Can I score as many as Mike Cammalleri? I should hope so. I believe in my abilities and what I can do. I fully expect myself to take on a big role in many different areas. I expect myself to play in that top-six and contribute offensively, play on special-teams and lead wherever I can. I think I’m very versatile and can be used in any situation. As a player, I think that’s what you want — you want to be in those key situations and in those pressure moments."
- Mason Raymond
What can he do?
Mason Raymond is one of those guys in the NHL that are a bit too good to play on the third line, but still not good enough to play top six in the NHL. This often puts him in a tough situation with teams as he can't seem to step up his game to play in the top six. However, he has great puck handling skills and, in case you missed the video above, he score. Especially against the Flames...
Last season with Toronto he almost got 20 goals playing mostly on the third line, with the occasional second line promotion. With Vancouver he was almost a top six player, but with better players coming in that could produce more without that much of a risk, he just didn't cut it. Interesting fact; Raymond has two career hat tricks, both of which he got against Calgary.
Where will he play?
On most teams, it would be a no-brainer to wonder where Raymond would fit in. Offensive third liner with a scoring role and a good injury replacement to anyone in the top six, but with the Flames it's an entirely different story. Given the fact he got 45 points last season he does have a good shot at making the top six over the other forward we signed, Devin Setoguchi, who is clearly having some troubles getting himself back into his old form.
Not trying to say that he's a lock for the top-six with our team, but with our lineup and taking into consideration how well everyone did last season, it's hard to rule him out before the season has already started. After all, he's the only one on our roster this year to play all 82 games in the season and only Mark Giordano and Jiri Hudler had more points than him.
Can he play well for Calgary?
This is a hard question, mostly because it contradicts with the things I said earlier about Raymond. Yes, he can shoot, deke, and do good for who has to be stuck in the bottom-six role despite having some of the skills to play top-six. Only problem is, if he can play the same way in Calgary with our hitting and two-way system, similar to most teams in the west. Not only that, but Raymond is also presented with another obstacle this season, Bob Hartley's trust.
Go back to the beginning of last season, where Backlund was under the gun by Hartley to start picking up his game, and developing a more two-way style. He listened to him and now he's one of the guys who are lock for the top-six going into the season. That's great and all, but things didn't work out the same for Sven Baertschi. Despite Backlund being the better player and having more experience, the way that Hartley tried to make Baertschi play just didn't work out and he eventually got sent down.
Think of it this way, either he's favourited by Hartley and gets more time as he proves he can play with the big guys, or he goes down a similar path as Baertschi. Only thing is that is that there's not much he can really gain or lose in either of those scenarios.
2013-2014 Statistics: GP 82 G 19 A 26 P 45 +/- -6 PPG 6 SHG 1
2014-2015 Projected Statistics: GP 80 G 16 A 23 P 39 +/- -10 PPG 4 SHG 2
I think that he's going to have a slight decline in production because of our play style and his opportunities he's going to have. Going back to the west will be a change, but he's already had a lot of experience playing in the west with Vancouver, so only thing is to fit in with Calgary's style of play.
Then again, I could be completely wrong. Maybe Calgary was a great choice for Raymond, playing infront of his home-town will provide him with extra motivation and he'll improve his point totals from last season.
Hope you got to know more about Mason Raymond what is expected of him in this upcoming season. Comment on what you thought of this WTE and make sure to vote on the poll below to let us know who you would like to see next.