Mason Raymond is out to prove that lightning does indeed strike twice as he works to earn a roster spot with the Anaheim Ducks. Shortly after the final year of his contract was bought out by the Calgary Flames, Raymond inked a one-year, two-way deal with Anaheim that guarantees the nine-year vet $675K while on an NHL roster and $225K if he’s suiting up in the AHL. It’s fair to say Raymond has reached a proverbial crossroads in his career, though as the Orange County Register’s Eric Stepens writes, the former Canuck, Leaf and Flame has history to fall back on as he attempts to make the Ducks roster.
Just three seasons ago Raymond was in a similar boat. Unsigned well into the summer of 2013, Raymond would eventually accept a PTO from Toronto and made the Leafs roster out of training camp. Playing for head coach Randy Carlyle, now behind the bench in Anaheim, Raymond saw action in all 82 games for the second time in his career and responded with a 45-point campaign. His 19 goals that year represented the second-highest single-season total of his career. He would parley that strong performance into a three-year deal with Calgary prior to the start of the 2014-15 season.
Raymond is hoping for a similar outcome in Anaheim and for his former Leafs bench boss. For his part, Carlyle believes Raymond can still contribute to an NHL team.
“He’s a talented player and he can score. He doesn’t need a lot of chances to score goals. I always used to use the analogy where some guys need 10 chances to score a goal. With Mason Raymond – when looking at him and watching his number of chances, he gets three or four and he scores a goal. That’s what his history has been, for me.”
Raymond’s chances of making the team went up after the Ducks released both David Booth and David Jones from their PTO’s. Sean Bergenheim, also in camp on a PTO, is still fighting for a job but the Ducks would have room for both players should they choose to go that route. If he can crack the roster, Raymond would add plenty of speed and some offensive potential in a bottom-six role.
Elsewhere in the NHL’s Pacific Division:
- The Arizona Coyotes find themselves in rarefied air these days as the club can fairly be called a “cap team.” Most seasons, the Coyotes payroll ranks among the lowest in the league but this year they have the third highest projected salary cap hit according to Cap Friendly. Of course a significant chunk of space is taken up by the contracts of Chris Pronger, Pavel Datsyuk and Dave Bolland; players not even expected to suit up for Arizona this season barring an unexpected development. As Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports writes, Coyotes GM John Chayka has an interesting perspective on the club’s sudden willingness to spend. He feels that Arizona’s commitment to spend to the cap ceiling this year is “good practice” as the team builds his roster into one capable of contention and the prices of players currently on ELCs begin to rise. “As we grow this thing, there’s a day when we foresee ourselves being a cap team. It’s good practice.”
- Former first-round pick Emerson Etem may well be in jeopardy of losing his job in Vancouver opines The Province’s Ben Kuzma. Kuzma believes the top nine spots are locked up and that young forward Brendan Gaunce has done enough to make the team while Jake Virtanen should be on the roster come opening night. He goes on to note that Mikael Granlund has been better than Etem in the preseason and also suggests young Joseph LaBate has played well enough to garner consideration for one of the final roster spots up front. If Etem does in fact fail to make the team it would represent a low point in what has already been a disappointing career. Etem was selected by Anaheim with the 29th overall selection in the 2010 entry draft and would see action in 112 games with the Ducks before he was shipped off to the New York Rangers last summer as part of the package used to acquire Carl Hagelin. He failed to make an impact on Manhattan in 19 games and was shipped off mid-season to Vancouver in exchange for Nicklas Jensen. Etem would go on to net seven goals and 12 points in 39 games with the Canucks but now it looks as if his days in British Columbia may be numbered. The Canucks would have to expose the four-year veteran to waivers prior to sending him down to the AHL. It’s conceivable another club could take a flier on Etem’s talent should he hit the waiver wire.