|2011 - Mason Raymond||55||10||10||20||4||18||1||1||2||125|
When we last checked in on MayRay he was getting a cut down arbitration as requested by the club in an attempt to shave as much as 15% of his previous $2.6 million dollar salary. Per Dreger, the new deal just reached is one year at $2.275 million, which is a tad higher than the 15% cut back would have been ($2.21 million).
Does this help answer questions about Raymond's role on the team? Not really. On the one hand it's an affordable deal (leaving him a UFA next summer) and he's been around AV's system long enough that he should be able to contribute no matter what role he finds himself in. Couple in a longer summer for training/rehabbing and perhaps he shows up in camp and proves his naysayers wrong.
Until that happens though I remain one of his naysayers. Hansen and Higgins are better checkers than Raymond (at least last season), but AV can always juggle the three between the second and third lines as needed. Perhaps that flexibility is more valuable than the sum of the individual parts. My guess is the team took the safe bet on retaining him should their other options - via free agency or otherwise - fall flat (on that note Shane Doan remains on Vancouver's radar). If he's around by the fall and not locked into a checking role, he simply needs to produce and prove 2009-10 wasn't a fluke. Vancouver's second line remains a huge question mark which doesn't need to be further weakened by a struggling winger.
What say you?