The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on their website today that general manager Dave Nonis has come to terms on a new contract with veteran left-winger Mason Raymond. According to Farhan Lalji of TSN, the deal is for one year and $1-million.
Per @FarhanLaljiTSN – Raymond deal is 1-year, $1-million
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 23, 2013
Raymond has impressed fans and apparently the Leafs’ coaching staff and front office from the moment he hit the ice in the preseason. Raymond fills a hole the Leafs had on the third line that will only be bigger since David Clarkson is likely to miss the first ten games of the regular season with a suspension. Raymond and Nikolai Kulemin are candidates to jump into the Leafs’ top six with Clarkson out.
The contract is identical to that of defenseman Paul Ranger. Ranger sat out nearly three full years before making a comeback to professional hockey with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies last season. Although Raymond’s situation is different in that he never left the NHL, he fell out of favour with the Vancouver Canucks after struggling to put up big point totals over the last two seasons. He became a free agent this offseason but didn’t draw any interest until his former GM, Nonis, came calling. Raymond signed a professional tryout contract with the Leafs and that move clearly paid off for both Raymond and the Leafs.
The 28-year-old speedster won’t be expected to put up a ton of points this year, but should settle into a nice secondary scoring role. His speed and forechecking ability is also a great asset to have on the penalty kill. At any rate, adding a winger with 178 points in 374 NHL games for so little can only be considered a plus move. With the addition, the Leafs will only have $995,883 in cap space, and will need to start shedding salary if they want to re-sign Cody Franson.