Vancouver Canucks: Where is Mason Raymond now?

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 26: Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Arena March 26, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver won 1-0. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 26: Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Arena March 26, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver won 1-0. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

In the first of a new regular series, we take a look back at former Vancouver Canucks and see where they are currently plying their trade. Today, we look at one of the near-heroes of the team’s 2011 playoff run, Mason Raymond.

When we remember Mason Raymond’s Canucks career, there are many moments to look back on.

While many Canucks fans will shout ‘MayRay down’ at the mere mention of his name, this was a player who contributed significantly during his time with the team. He played an integral role on two Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams and coming within one game of the franchise’s elusive first Stanley Cup. I for one feel that he should receive more credit for his achievements in Vancouver than he is given.

His time with the Canucks

Mason Raymond was drafted 51st overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft with the Canucks’ second-round pick, joining our 2005 class alongside Luc Bourdon and Mario Bliznak. With scouting as we know it not yet under development (social media not existing then, and sites such as Google and YouTube still in their infancy), Raymond was drafted out of the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks.

He then moved on to spend two years in the NCAA with Minnesota-Duluth, playing with the likes of Matt Niskanen and Jason Garrison, and impressing the Canucks with his speed and finishing as he ended his sophomore season behind only Jonathan Toews in NCAA scoring.

His scouting reports at the time would seem to infer a Goldobin-Dahlen hybrid:

"A very fast skater with good offensive skills. Needs to gain some strength to win one-on-one battles, especially near the boards. [Eliteprospects]Raymond is a somewhat undersized winger with elite speed…Fortunately he is extremely fast and very few defenders can keep up with him long enough to hit him.  Raymond also possesses good puck handling skills although he sometimes has a tendency to over handle the puck instead of taking an opportunity himself.  Raymond will score most of his goals on the powerplay or odd-man rushes when he can most take advantage of his skating ability. [Hockey’s Future]"

The team were high on him, with Ron Delorme (Chief Scout at the time) making it clear how taken they were with him:

"“We feel he’s able to play…So many people I’ve talked to have told me what a good player they think [Raymond] is. Kevin Lowe just told me the other day what a good pick he thinks Raymond is. He has very good speed and he sees options so quickly. He handles the puck extremely well while he’s in motion and he’s always dangerous because he can change direction in tight spaces so quickly. And his thinking complements everything else so well.”"

It therefore came as no surprise that he made the Canucks out of training camp at the beginning of the 2007-08 season. He started his first NHL game alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and tallied a debut assist on the Canucks’ lone goal that day, scored by Brendan Morrison. Just to make you feel old, Jeremy Roenick scored twice for the Sharks and Christian Ehrhoff set up Joe Thornton‘s opener.

It was another nine games, and several demotions / call-ups, before Raymond scored his first goal for the Canucks, the opening goal in a 3-2 win over the Ducks. He ended his first season with 9 goals, 12 assists and 21 points in 49 games – outscoring Alex Edler, Matt Cooke and Trevor Linden, despite playing less games. Sadly he followed up that promising start with a 23 point season, scoring just 11 goals, and had looked to have regressed to being an occasional third-line scorer.

2009-10 was where it all changed. Playing on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson, Raymond put up 25 goals and 28 assists including a natural hat-trick on the road in Calgary.

This was then followed by our Stanley Cup run in 2010-11, where he put up 39 points during the team’s President’s Trophy-winning regular season and eight points in the playoffs before a dreadful ‘hit’ by Johnny Boychuk broke his back, causing him to miss the rest of Game 6 and the crucial Game 7 home loss. Look at this quote from Mike Gillis – back in 2011 remember – and you tell me if you’ve heard similar words before:

"“I didn’t see the puck around him,” Gillis said Tuesday. “I thought the Boston player used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back.”"

One could argue that there wasn’t enough pushback from the 2011 Canucks either.

While Raymond did return the following season, he never looked the same player, and his meagre 20 point season in 2011-12 was about as much as could be expected after such a horrific injury.

More from The Canuck Way

He bounced back somewhat with 22 points in 46 games in 2012-13, but the Canucks had seen enough by now to know that he wasn’t going to be that 25 goal scorer again.

He did have an amazing spin-o-rama shootout goal against Columbus that season, but that was it for highlights. Both parties, and particularly Canucks fans, were ready to move on, and Raymond had to look for a new team for the first time since he was drafted.

It’s also worth noting that Raymond and his wife Megan were well-known for contributing many hours to local charities, including Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. He did his part for the community, as so many hockey players do.

While he may have ended his Canucks tenure in disappointment, Mason Raymond played a big part on one of the best teams that ever represented the Vancouver Canucks. He was fast, he fell over a lot, but he scored some timely goals, and came so close to winning a Cup.

Canucks stats: 374 GP, 80 G (inc 12 GWGs), 98 A, 178 points

Best highlight: Scoring the opening goal against Nashville in Game 6 of the 2011 2nd round (aka the Kesler Beastmode Series). A lovely deke and finish past Pekka Rinne.

What happened next?

After the lockout-shortened 2012/13 season, Raymond signed a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs – and had a good season, posting 19 goals and 26 assists while playing 82 games. It was an excellent return to form for the speedy winger, and he converted it to the last big paycheck of his career.

After just one year in Toronto, Raymond signed a three-year deal, $9.5m deal with the Flames. Sadly for him, he posted just 28 points in 86 games across two seasons before being bought out. He then moved on to play four games with the Ducks, before Anaheim demoted him to the AHL and both parties agreed to a mutual termination.

Earlier this year he represented Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning bronze while playing alongside the likes of Linden Vey, Max Lapierre, Andrew Ebbett, Derek Roy and Gilbert Brule. After he went through so much during his time with us, I’m sure we’d all agree that seeing MayRay at the Olympics sent a nostalgic tingle down our collective spines.

Where is he now?

Mason Raymond is now 33 years old – incredible, I know – and plied his trade for SC Bern in the Swiss league last season. However, the new Swiss season is well underway and Raymond remains a free agent. If he chooses to continue his career, it will inevitably be in Europe.

Unless he returns to the NHL to finish his career, which seems unlikely, he ends with 546 GP, 115 goals, 136 assists for a total of 251 points. That’s a fine career for a 51st overall pick in any year.

Next. Top 5 Canucks prospects of the week. dark

Questions for TCWers:

Has your view of Mason Raymond softened in the intervening years? Can he now be remembered as the exciting young talent he was, and someone who came so close to helping this team win a Cup? And what is your one abiding memory of his time with the team?