You know when a player comes out of nowhere and does something you never expected? This season, that player is Mason Raymond for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If this summer had been a regular offseason, the Maple Leafs would not have had a chance to sign Raymond. However, with the salary cap going down, a lot of free agents that would have been signed in July had to wait until the end of August or rely on tryouts in training camp.
Raymond was one of those players that had to wait for the training camp tryout. Dave Nonis decided to take a flier on a player that he once drafted and Raymond has so far made Nonis look like a genius.
He had an excellent training camp, earning himself a one-year, $1-million deal. All he has done so far is look like a player that deserves a big raise next July. Through nine games, he has four goals and four assists for eight points while averaging 18:16 of ice time per game.
Raymond has formed some great chemistry playing with Dave Bolland. Playing against each other when Raymond was with the Canucks and Bolland with the Chicago Blackhawks most likely helped a lot as they knew each other’s games already. If they can continue that throughout the season, it will help the Leafs immensely.
He knows that with David Clarkson returning to the lineup he will most likely see a drop in ice time so he’s taking advantage of the time he has (quote from this Michael Traikos piece at the National Post):
“I’ve been put in some opportunities and I’m having fun and enjoying the moment… Right now, I have a lot of confidence. Things feel like they’re slowing down. But I’m not here to say it’s all about me.”
Raymond could be a very good player for the Leafs for more than a couple of seasons. He knows from this past offseason that he needs to play at the top of his game to keep his job. That is the type of player every team wants.
Let’s just hope he can be re-signed after this season.