Photo credit: canucks.com
Count me among those pleasantly surprised to hear this morning that the Canucks and Mason Raymond agreed on a new two-year contract before their scheduled arbitration hearing. The contract pays Raymond $2.5 million this upcoming season and $2.6 million the season after that; the cap hit is $2.55 million.
As Jason Botchford noted in his piece, there were comparables on the low and high ends.
Consider that heading into Monday’s arbitration hearing, Raymond’s agent J.P. Barry was armed with two big-money comparables — Travis Zajac, whose cap hit is nearly $3.8 million a year and Ryane Clowe, who chews up $3.625 million of the San Jose Sharks’ cap.
Two of the comparables the Canucks were set to work off of in the arbitration case were the Rangers Ryan Callahan, who makes $2.3 million a year and Washington’s Eric Fehr, who recently avoided his own arbitration hearing by signing a two year deal in which he gets $2.2 million a year.
While it’s true that going through arbitration carries some risk for both parties, I’m surprised, based on earlier arbitration awards, that Raymond didn’t go through with the process. For example, Clarke MacArthur’s 37 points and -16 earned somehow earned him a $2.4 million award. By settling on this contract, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Raymond left some money on the table.
By avoiding arbitration, the Canucks probably saved upwards of $500K in cap space. If Raymond continues to produce 25+ goals and 50+ points – and there’s no reason to think he won’t – the $2.55 million cap hit will prove to be a bargain. Plus, signing Raymond to a two-year extension and ensuring that he remains an RFA after this contract is just good asset management.
Slowly yet surely, GM Mike Gillis continues to lock up this team’s core. And at reasonable terms too.