I can understand why Brad Treliving wanted to bring in Mason Raymond over the summer. The Flames wanted to augment their roster with some speed and veteran leadership, in case some of their young players didn’t turn out too well.
Unfortunately for Raymond, Josh Jooris really played well (as did Lance Bouma), who both gradually leaped up the depth charts. And Johnny Gaudreau turned out pretty okay, too. Unfortunately for the Flames, Raymond got hurt early in the season and never really was all that effective afterwards. Only late in the season did he start using his speed to create chances, and by that point he was on the fourth line.
When you factor in that he’s making over $3 million per season, I think everyone’s hoping he rebounds in 2015-16.
The following skaters played 100+ even-strength minutes with Raymond:
So…every single regular player is either the same or worse-off with Mason Raymond than apart from him. The only exceptions are T.J. Brodie and Mikael Backlund, both of whom are considered good possession players and have a history of making their teammates better in that respect.
Here’s how Raymond was used by Hartley this season:
Raymond was middle of the road in terms of quality of competition, but amongst the most sheltered forwards on the club in terms of zone starts. Only Granlund, Hudler and Gaudreau got more frequent O-zone starts, and at least Hudler and Gaudreau were the major catalysts of Calgary’s offense.
Raymond missed 18 games early in the season with a shoulder injury. He returned from the injury and was inconsistent, to the point where he drifted down the line-up and ended up as a healthy scratch seven times (along with three times in the playoffs). When he did play, sometimes he was on the fourth line and sometimes he was juggled around. He just couldn’t find consistency in any way, shape, or form.
As you can see from this rolling 5-game chart of his Corsi, Raymond had a very up and down season. A lot of it has to do with his deployment and his teammates. He’s a skilled player who relies on his speed. It worked well in spurts in the playoffs, but he needs to be with good players to perform well, not dragging around Bollig. (Spoiler: when his numbers dipped, he played with Bollig.)
It’s hard to tell where Mason Raymond fits in. He was on the fourth line late in the season and, to be blunt, Calgary has cheaper players in the system that could fit in that role better than Raymond does. And his performance hasn’t been strong enough offensively to really knock any wingers out of the top three lines, even when he was used in those roles in spurts during this season. Unless he can rebound, the arrival of Sam Bennett on the NHL scene as well as Micheal Ferland and others pushing for full-time gigs may push Raymond to the press box even more often next season than this one.
Raymond’s a superb skater. It’s just a shame that, while wearing a Flames jersey, he hasn’t been able to establish himself as a heck of a lot more than that.
2014-15 BY THE NUMBERS
|#1 Jonas Hiller||#19 David Jones|
|#3 David Schlemko||#21 Mason Raymond|
|#4 Kris Russell||#23 Sean Monahan|
|#5 Mark Giordano||#24 Jiri Hudler|
|#6 Dennis Wideman||#25 Brandon Bollig|
|#7 T.J. Brodie||#29 Deryk Engelland|
|#8 Joe Colborne||#31 Karri Ramo|
|#11 Mikael Backlund||#32 Paul Byron|
|#13 Johnny Gaudreau||#33 Raphael Diaz|
|#15 Ladislav Smid||#60 Markus Granlund|
|#17 Lance Bouma||#79 Micheal Ferland|
|#18 Matt Stajan||#86 Josh Jooris|