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.