Apr 8, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Mason Raymond (12) reacts as he skates with the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer (2) defends during the third period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Raymond Will be Missed by the Toronto Maple Leafs

I’m probably alone in this, but I think Mason Raymond deserved another shot with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This isn’t to say Raymond was an essential part of the team or a game changer in any sense of the imagination. However, he did provide the Leafs with a healthy dose of speed and he was always a threat to score even if his production was slow or seemed non-existent at times.

The speedy and skilled winger was also a main cog in Toronto’s counterattack, which was basically the team’s identity last season.

In 82 contests for the Leafs, Raymond potted 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists) and registered a -6 ranking. Six of his goals were scored on the power play where I would argue he was underused at times.

Another benefit to Raymond was his relatively cheap cost. He signed a tryout contract worth $1 million last season and although he received a major pay upgrade from the Calgary Flames this off-season, his annual salary cap hit of $3.1 million over the next three seasons is very reasonable when compared to the type of money other secondary forwards made in free agency this past week.

Let me put it this way: would you rather have Raymond in your lineup or fellow former Leafs Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin at significantly higher costs?

My main concern here isn’t that Raymond’s an irreplaceable player for the Leafs. It’s that the Leafs didn’t do enough to replace him on the team. A 45-point player can’t be subtracted from the lineup without some noticeable consequences in terms of the team’s offence.

Is Petri Kontiola the answer? We’ll see, but let me say this: the KHL isn’t the NHL. A superstar there is oftentimes a disgruntled player here.

Toronto had a known asset in Raymond. He could’ve been kept at some expense to the team, but this is surely better for a team that can’t afford to make too many mistakes.

If the Leafs really want to improve, they need to recognize what already works for them. Raymond fell into this category.

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Tags: Mason Raymond Mikhail Grabovski Nikolai Kulemin Petri Kontiola Toronto Maple Leafs

  • A13276

    We certainly missed him in the 2nd half – he went AWOL. Great speed but soft on the puck; we needed to upgrade our board and corner work – less “one and done” off the rush; not among Raymond’s strengths. Kontiola wasn’t brought in to replace Raymond! Raymond was signed on a tryout by the Leafs when no one else was interested – now you criticise them for being short sighted for not signing him. It’s all about getting maximum value for your dollar while filling team needs in a CAP league!

  • Bardia Kayson

    I agree with you there. Sometimes people cannot see clearly or make the right decisions simply because they’re too close to see what works and what doesn’t.

  • Stan Smith

    Looking over his past I predict he will not have as good a year this coming season as he did last.

  • Andrew

    I think it’s more about changing the identity without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The team was a poor possession team and Raymond contributed to that trend. Great on the counterattack, sure; but, just another depth player who gives up the puck too easily. I think this move is simply about acquiring depth players that are stronger on the puck. Raymond was not only lousy in terms of possession, but had many more giveaways than takeaways last year.

  • D.WAdair

    If he wanted to be signed in TO he should have lowed hid demands, some as Bolland. These players can be replaced with no trouble.

  • shamefultofan

    Who cares about raymond… He was ok not going to be missed… To many unknowns for next year… Seems like the same as every other year….team might be ok but that will be it…not good enough to contend for a cup…how long must we wait before other teams start worrying about playing the leafs again… When is this so called culture change going to happen… Just another suit laughing his way to the bank…its time us fans start boycotting games…it would be devestating to turn on a leafs game and see an empty areana…maybe those suit might take this game a little more serious on winning if they start lossing money…p.s. Nonis is a joke..

  • David Da Rocha

    Kontiola’s job isn’t to provide a speedy counterattack. It’s to provide stability, and vision down the middle of the ice for the Leafs. Raymond wanted too much money. He signed for over $3 Million a year! Due to bad management, we can’t really afford to pay all of our bottom six players over $3 Million a year. It’s not hard to find a player in the NHL who can skate fast. Yes the 45 points will be missed, but not hard to replace. Was enough done to replace him? Probably not, I agree. That’s what you get when you have an fairly incompetent General Manager. Our main problem in Leaf land is our ego. Many fans feel our players are better than they actually are. In reality, we’ve been apart of a losing culture for too long now, good players are not attracted to this organization, they aren’t blind. So, here we are, stuck overpaying average players, in the hopes they can outperform expectations. *Cough* David Clarkson *cough* Leo Komarov *cough* *chokes-passes out*

  • A13276

    WHY THE LEAFS ARE BETTER RIGHT NOW: Who woulda thunk that Nonis would have a cool $5 million in his sock drawer after all the bloodletting. That’s after accounting for recent signings and RFA money due. Now we can sit back and wait for a player of consequence to become available as a result of a team in CAP trouble without having to move money out or penetrating the 10% CAP overage ceiling. Good work Nonis. “Value for your dollar”. The bottom 6 has been drastically retooled and upgraded. Santorelli can fly, has hands and loves to bang; he became available because he was a find of the Gillis regime (Nucks fans aren’t happy seeing him leave); Kontiola (“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know”), had 5 or 6 NHL teams interested in him; has skill and one of his strengths is reported as “running a power play”; Komorov will get all of Kulemin’s quiet minutes and dramatically help last year’s abysmal penalty kill (28th from 2nd the year before when Komorov was here and we made the playoffs); Frattin can play and is tough on the puck. So we have an improved bottom six, penalty kill and defense; all identified weaknesses. And Nonis still has $5 mil in cap space to burn and tradeable assets in Franson and Reimer. And don’t be too surprised if Nylander’s speed and skill forces him into the Leafs top six after camp; that’s his plan! Of course we could have locked up Paul Stastny (who’s a good fit with the Blues) and Matt Niskanen for the next 5 years with Stamkos entering free agency next season; Stastny (I’m not that slow) will get you 60 points but so will Bozak and Kadri. Niskanen, I mean Niskanen?

  • flintonrice

    I think you’re way off but not at all alone in your desire to keep him.

    Raymond was very, very, very, very soft. He is a great skater with the puck, maybe even the best on the Leafs last year. JML was also a great skater with the puck. And same as Raymond, very soft.

    It’s funny because people constantly look at Leaf’s moves and compare to the Kings, Ducks, Sharks, Bruins etc. And they rip the Leafs because of the differences. Would any of those teams have taken Raymond? No way on earth. He’s just too soft. To give you an idea, he was second lowest in hits (next to Kessel) on the team. He was tied with Bolland in hits but Raymond played 82 games and Bolland played 23 games. Jarred Smithson had 2 less hits in 18 games! Those numbers are laughable. I mean, the guy must have finished 3 or 4 checks all season…

    For all of his “incredible contributions” he was -6 and now he has tripled his salary. The fact that Burke – whose FA signings are legendarily awful – signed him speaks volumes. I personally think that they should have dealt him at the trade deadline when he was worth something.