Yesterday, I asked you if you think the Toronto Maple Leafs should re-sign right winger Nikolai Kulemin. The results were rather even with 55% of you voting for him to stay in Toronto. Now I ask the same question, this time concerning left winger Mason Raymond.
Unlike Kulemin, Raymond has not been with the Leafs for very long. Unable to sign with a team during the summer months, Raymond settled for a training camp tryout with the Maple Leafs. That tryout went real well for Raymond, earning him a one-year contract worth $1 million.
Mason started the season pretty well, scoring 5 goals and adding six assists for 11 points in the month of October. Part of that success was quickly establishing chemistry with former rival Dave Bolland, a common foe of Raymond’s when he was with Vancouver and Bolland was with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Shortly after Bolland’s injury, Raymond’s production slid. He’s still producing but just not at the rate he was when Bolland was around. Maybe, when, or if, Bolland returns to Leafs’ lineup, the two can get back to that success playing together.
Now, the Leafs have a bargain in Raymond. For only $1 million, the Leafs are getting a good amount of production that would usually warrant more money. After this season, it will. Raymond is now doubt in line for a raise. Can the Leafs afford to keep him though?
The Leafs have several free agents to re-sign and they must choose who to keep and who they will let go. I mentioned yesterday that Kulemin could be easily replaced because of players the Leafs have playing with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. The same might not be said about Raymond.
Raymond’s defining quality is his speed. Now the Leafs have speed on the first line with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, but beyond that there’s not much. Raymond has given them a good amount of speed on the third line and that should be considered valuable. It’s even more valuable considering it’s something the Leafs don’t have much of in their list of prospects.
Raymond has been a key cog in the Leafs’ lineup for most of this season. The question is, will he continue to be?