Mason Raymond on waivers

With Micheal Ferland’s impending return and the Flames set to be at 24 roster players, including 15 forwards with him, somebody would have to be sent down. 

Mason Raymond, who has not come even close to living up to his three-year, $3.15 million AAV contract, drew the short straw, as the Flames have placed him on waivers. Raymond was previously waived back in October, before the season began, and went unclaimed. With just four goals and one assist this season, it’s unlikely anybody claims him now.

With the Flames needing that roster spot for Ferland, it’s almost a guarantee Raymond gets sent down to Stockton, which will provide the Flames with a bit of cap relief ($950K, to be precise). It also means it looks like Markus Granlund is here to stay.

Raymond’s time with the Flames does look to be, essentially, over. He’s missed 19 games this season as a healthy scratch, and when he does draw into the lineup, he only averages 12:20 a game. He’s scored as many points as Granlund has this season, and only more than guys like Deryk Engelland, Brandon Bollig (guys not expected to score), Lance Bouma (basically injured all year), and Ladislav Smid (not expected to score, and also not a lineup regular).

Considering the amount he was signed for back when coming off of a 45-point season – and the fact he only scored 23 points over 57 games his first season in Calgary – it’s not even remotely close to good enough. Raymond has been unable to stick in the lineup, and when he does draw in, he doesn’t do much. 

The underlying numbers don’t paint too kind of a picture for him, either: a -1.74% CF rel player with +2.70 relative offensive zone starts, Raymond is being put in easier circumstances and coming up short. 

However, this is where things get interesting: Granlund is a -4.14% CF rel player with +16.30 relative offensive zone starts. Like Raymond, he has five points, although his are distributed as three goals and two assists through 27 games. It’s possible to make the argument that the Flames would be better served by having Raymond in the lineup over Granlund, although Granlund is eight years younger to counteract that.

And it is possible the Flames won’t send Raymond down to the AHL should he clear. It’s possible this is one last effort to unload his contract, as unlikely as it may be. The Flames will have to send somebody down to Stockton tomorrow no matter what, but that somebody could still be Granlund, as he doesn’t have to clear waivers. This is unlikely to happen, though, so don’t hold your breath.

Which means the Flames are comfortable with Granlund in the lineup night-in, night-out as a third line centre (or they feel he’s a trade chip, but let’s just go with the simpler explanation). This in itself is at least a little concerning, as Granlund had a decent start to his recall, only to flounder as of late and appear to struggle with the NHL. He’s highly sheltered, and yet the play is going completely against him, and he’s only registered two assists over his last 20 games.

The insistence on playing him at centre when Sam Bennett is present is also bizarre, but apparently something the organization is unwilling to budge from for some reason. So if you wanted to see Bennett back down the middle, Raymond being on waivers may not be the best news.

The end of this saga – and indeed, perhaps Raymond’s time as a Flame – should be tomorrow. Until then, the picture appears clear: it’s probably time to say goodbye to the Cochrane native, and welcome the Finn as a full-time NHLer. 

At least the Heat will likely get a boost out of Raymond’s presence. 

  • Parallex

    “It also means it looks like Markus Granlund is here to stay.”

    I took it to mean that Ferland is coming off IR and Wideman might be suspended so the Flames need to be able to clear two roster spots. They put the guy that needs waivers on today in case they need a D-man tomorrow.

    • Parallex

      Maybe… but maybe not. It depends on several other factors.

      The Flames need to make enough room to accommodate Giordano’s raise + Gaudreau & Monahan extensions + a new goalie contract. A buyout of anyone is really a last resort so it really comes down to what they can accomplish in the trade market wrt Raymond/Smid/Wideman and how much room they need to accomplish their off-season goals.

      • Rockmorton65

        The problem with trades this year is making the cap work. I don’t think the Flames are going to get any cap relief via trade. As much as I would like to see Widemans 5 mil off the books for next year, I don’t see a scenario where there isn’t similar money & term coming back.

        • Parallex

          Maybe with salary retention a trade could work. They’re bad deals on their current ticket but bump half off and they might work for someone. I’m thinking more for the off-season anyways.

          Or you could address an area that needs filling (Example: Some trade that results in Wideman to Detroit for Howard… Flames need a goalie for next year, Detroit needs to resign Mrazek. Shift the future Wideman dollars to Goalie dollars).

          The point is that the Flames aren’t going to buy him out just ’cause… they will spend the absolute minimum they need to in buyouts to accomplish what they need to accomplish. And the minimum amount they need may not involve Raymond’s contract… if that makes sense. I feel like I’m explaining myself badly.

          • Rockmorton65

            I totally agree with salary retention & positional shift. My point was that we can’t expect to send out money without some coming back. if we’re sending another year @ a 5 mil cap hit, we’re taking back similar $ and term.

          • Parallex

            That depends on to who and when. If your saying we can’t trade away players that take up cap space to teams that have none… well obviously. But that’s so apparent that I hardly think it warrants mention. That’s all the requirement you need to make a trade. If your saying that no team will make trades where equal money and term aren’t coming back… well I disagree with that thought.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Of course you can see a scenario–The Flames retain $3M of Wideman’s salary next year and he becomes a very cheap addition to the blue line of the goal-starved Canadiens. Then the Flames retain $2M of Raymond’s contract so he can become a Cane. Another $2M to let Smid be a full time NHLer and make it a third $2M to move Englland. Wow! Look at all the cap space created! Heck, with the money retained we could have Stamkos for a year.

          • PrairieStew

            Except that you can only retain salary on 2 players at any given time and you can only retain 50%. So with Raymond it is $1.575 and Wideman $2.625.

            So you have to ask would anyone take the player at half price AND with whom do you replace him with to realize the net savings.

            In Raymond’s case – I’m not sure you get much for him even at half price – but say you get a 6th round pick, that’s OK I guess – and you replace him with Klimchuck or Porier @ $863K – your actual savings is less than a million dollars. Presently the AHL numbers of those players aren’t much better than Raymond’s NHL numbers, so you have to ask yourself if the savings are worth the return.

            In Wideman’s case I think someone takes him on at $2.625, and the return is probably more like a third round pick. Replacing him with Kulak or a re-signed Nakaldal probably amounts to a savings of closer to $1.5 M, so it is a more likely scenario.

  • Parallex

    I agree, this is the swan song for Raymond, but I can’t think of anyone who would pick him up on waivers? What a bonus that would be!

    I do like that Granlund has been given a chance to prove himself, but seriously, they need to send him back down and recall Grant and Nakladal.

  • PrairieStew

    I go to all the Flames games and I don’t see any progression with Granny, if anything, I don’t see any difference between him and Raymond other than that Raymond is faster. They both don’t finish well when placed in a red scoring chance. Granny has been losing the puck battles in the corners, so I can’t see why he would surpass Benny at center who battles in the corners and leads the play. Interesting enough, Grant was the fastest skater and had a great al star game, he also is second in the league in goals, so I think he deserves a call up over Granny. I thought Grant worked hard in the corners, fought for the puck, and was good in the face off fit all in a 4th line role, he can do more than Granny for this team right now, time for a change. I think Granny will be sent down if Raymond clears.

    Just my two bits

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Agree with 90%. The reasons Granlund has more value are simply his young age and future potential (he may replace Backlund some day sooner or later). Grant is an excellent option for C or RW on Flames, good size and speed (obviously by AHL faster skater contest) and maybe try him 2nd or even 1st line on Flames…you never know it could work.

      EDIT: Try him 2nd or 1st line RW…maybe chemistry with JG and SM.

  • beloch

    Blastoff for Spaceman Raymond! (I call him that because he seems incapable of doing anything good without about three times the space anyone else needs. He inevitably coughs up the puck when space gets tight, and there’s not much space for anyone in today’s NHL.)

    But seriously, Raymond has been absolutely frustrating to watch. It’s clear he has talent because sometimes he really plays well. The problem is that even Colborne is a more consistent contributor. Spaceman Raymond seems to spend most of his time lost in space. In aggregate, he is a poor possession player who isn’t physical and doesn’t score. His WOWY is just ugly. He makes nearly everyone he plays with worse. On top of it all, he’s trending in the wrong direction. The rest of the team got better in most measures this season, but Raymond got worse.

    Someone please remind me why Byron was put on waivers first? I know which of these two I’d rather have on the team now!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Byron was the littlest shrimpkin on a team of dwarves in a big man’s league. In addition he had hands of stone last season. Finally, how dare you question the wisdom of Brad Treliving, 2015-16 NHL Executive of the Year, and chief benefactor to the Raymond family.

  • RKD

    To be honest the game has passed Raymond by, he is reminding me more and more of Rene Bourque. Talented but a lack of work ethic. 19 games as a healthy scratch should tell you all you need to know about Raymond. When he competes he can do good things out there, but he’s not motivated to work hard. He’s an overpaid floater taking up a young kid’s roster spot. What does this guy add to the lineup?

    • RKD

      Talented but a lack of work ethic with Raymond you say.

      If anything, I actually think it’s the other way around with Raymond. As in the work ethic is generally good enough, but his skills just aren’t anywhere near the level they used to be at for him.

      I get the fact that NHL players don’t totally forget how to stick handle, pass & shoot a puck, that’s true but only to an extent. Problem is, many players only have a limited number of years that they can maintain playing at or near the top of their game before age, injuries and/or general wear & tear takes its toll.

      I think Raymond has seen his skills deteriorate rather badly because his best days are well and truly behind him. The fact that he had to come back from a devastating back injury a few years ago certainly hasn’t helped matters.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      He is not a Hartley guy and never has been. Hartley doesn’t want him and in the NHL today, it is a lot harder to trade guys, so BT can’t dispatch him to Pittsburgh. Keeping a guy in the minors at $3M a pop isn’t going to sit well with the Flames owners, especially when they go to Mayor Nenshi and beg for more taxpayer dough to build a new barn and at the same time claim they are cost conscious.