Let me preface this post by saying that I’m not jumping off the Mason Raymond bandwagon just yet. Quite the opposite actually. In fact, I like the guy and I want him to become a good player; I don’t want him to turn into another Brandon Reid.
I think it’s time that Raymond spends a game or two in the press box. After a sizzling start that saw him put up 10 points (5G-5A) and a plus-3 rating in 13 games, he’s slowed down quite considerably. Like 9 points (4G-5A) and an even rating in the next 31 games slow. Currently, he’s mired in a six-game pointless streak. He’s been on the ice for 6 goals against (4 ES and 2 PP) and only 1 goal for. For whatever reason, he hasn’t produced much since the first month of the season. For a guy that ranks 5th among Canucks forwards in ice-time – both in total ice-time and on the powerplay – that’s not good enough.
When the Canucks demoted Jannik Hansen to the Manitoba Moose for a couple of games last week, Alain Vigneault said:
“For the last seven or eight games, we felt his play slipped a little bit,” Vigneault said of Hansen, who has two fewer points than Bernier. “He’s been on sort of a slump there, if you can call it that. It’s part of the learning curve. Sometimes, players need a little wake-up call. With younger guys who don’t need waivers, [sending him down is] one of the tools you can use.”
Unfortunately, Mason Raymond has played more than 70 games and is no longer waiver-exempt. Given his upside, another team will almost certainly claim him so sending him to the Moose isn’t an option; however, letting him watch the game from the press box is.
Now that the walking wounded are returning to action, the Canucks can actually afford to sit Raymond for a game or two. It’s an opportunity for him to see the game from a different vantage point. He can see what he might have been doing wrong, and maybe, he’ll realize that skating down the wing and getting plastered against the glass isn’t an effective play. Or quite simply, it may serve as a wake-up call. Just like it did for Hansen.