The Flames made a splash in the early hours of 2014's Free Agent Frenzy, swiping Jonas Hiller and today's focal point Mason Raymond from the market. A former nemesis from Vancouver, Raymond came off of a rebound year with the Maple Leafs, and looked to continue his success in hometown Calgary.
It started off well; he scored a hat trick against Edmonton, and put up seven points in the first seven games of the year. Then he completely fell off the wagon. An injury took him out for all of November, and he didn't score another point until early January, game 41 against the Red Wings. He never found consistency, often going on long scoring droughts followed by a few games of production, then back to the 0's. I'm kind of sad that National Donut Day was yesterday, because it would've been the perfect descriptor of Raymond's year.
His flip-floppy season has drawn the ire of many Flames fans, but does he still have a future with the team? Matchsticks & Gasoline weighs in:
Mason Raymond was brought in as what looked like a good, veteran signing. He’d had a few decent years leading up to his big contract - especially his one-year "show me" deal with the Leafs - and as a hometown boy, it seemed like he’d be a great fit with the Flames. After all, he scored a hat trick against the Edmonton Oilers right off the bat; what better way to welcome yourself?
Things went downhill after that, though. Raymond was consistently outplayed by rookies, especially as the year went on and the fight to make the playoffs ramped up. He wasn’t the worst forward on the team, but he was quickly falling down the depth chart, and deservedly so. His contract isn’t so big as to be an albatross, and the Flames can afford to ride it out, but it’d be really nice if he had a bounceback year, because this one wasn’t quite up to par.
Mike FAIL: (C)
I was really excited when the Flames signed Mason Raymond last summer. He had a big year in Toronto and this looked to be an acceptable signing. As the season went on, I found myself more and more annoyed with his play. Rookies like Jooris, Ferland, and company saw more usage over Raymond as the season went on, which isn’t a great sign. Play often died on his stick and he showed very few moments of logical decision making. I feel like at this point he is a slightly more offensive, albeit smaller, version of Joe Colborne.
His contract isn’t as completely terrible as it’s made out to be, though it’s concerning if he fails to start producing more consistently. Here’s hoping to a bounceback year this fall, or else we may see the end of Mason Raymond as a Calgary Flame.
This is certainly not a case of "Everybody Loves Raymond." It would be hard pressed to find another forward on the team who was as polarizing as Raymond was last year. He’s not Brandon Bollig where everybody thinks he’s completely useless, but he’s a guy who some question whether or not he has a place with the team, and he’s certainly no All-Star.
Raymond was one of the team’s better scorers at even strength last year on a per minute basis, but that’s about where the compliments end. He wasn’t good by any means on the power play, he’s useless on the penalty kill and he isn’t a possession driving player. That said, the point numbers were enticing enough to give him the C+.
Does that mean that he should be on the roster next year? Maybe, maybe not. He was hardly fantastic and if those point totals don’t carry over then he becomes a complete waste of a roster spot.
Raymond is an interesting case. He had scoring streaks (and slumps) and he’s got some speed on him. He was injured and, questioningly, healthy scratched a ton at the end of the season/in the playoffs. He’s not a key player, but he didn’t make any noticeable gaffes. He’s kind of just there. He’s useful but not coveted. The plus is for his speed and points production.
It’s hard to give him anything but an average grade. Instead of getting a Mike Cammalleri replacement, we got same old Mason Raymond. He was streaky, got injured, but still put up a decent amount of points in his shortened season. On ice, he really didn’t do anything exceptional, but didn’t really make mind-blowing mistakes. If he’s healthy next season he won’t be much better, but he’ll still be useful.
Raymond is another guy whom I just expect more from. I want him to be the hero, and more often than not he isn’t, and this upsets me, as somebody who’s been a fan of his since I first saw him play.
Crazily enough, Mason Raymond was the best 5v5 goal scorer on the Calgary Flames per time on ice, netting 1.04 goals per 60 (for reference, Hudler was second at 1.02). With this in mind it isn’t surprising to see that Raymond contributed to the most shot attempts and shots on goal per time on ice, however he dropped off in terms of scoring chance contribution, suggesting that his points were generated from lower quality plays (i.e. he was lucky). Unfortunately for Raymond, he is a defensive liability. Most of his starts came in the offensive zone, yet he was still a poor possession player even by the Flames' standards. Perhaps most damning is the fact the team allowed the most high danger scoring chances against with Mason Raymond on the ice (data courtesy war-on-ice).
A little bit of variation between the writers, but he appropriately averages out to a C for 2014-15. Like our previous report cards, we're mostly all in agreement about Raymond: he can be a useful player on the team, but he really wasn't this year. He isn't bad enough to justify a trade just yet, but he isn't good enough to be around after his contract is over.
Next season can only be better for Raymond. Now that the Flames have two solid lines, the pressure is off, and I feel that Raymond can definitely rediscover himself in a bottom six role. Considering the support he will have in guys like Josh Jooris, Matt Stajan, and Micheal Ferland, Raymond can probably become a bit more useful next year now that we know who he is.