September 8, 2013, LONDON, Ont. — Opportunity brought Mason Raymond and the Toronto Maple Leafs together. The free-agent left-winger will attend Maple Leafs training camp on a professional tryout contract, something that came together recently as the team recognized there might be room on the roster.
”Obviously we’re getting pretty close to camp and we have some opportunities, and he’s looking for a chance to prove himself, so it’s a pretty good fit,” general manager Dave Nonis said Sunday night after the Maple Leafs’ final rookie tournament game in London.
Raymond, 27, spent the last five-plus seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He has 80 goals and 98 assists in 374 career NHL games.
Nonis drafted Raymond in the second round of the 2005 draft while with Vancouver.
”I know Mason very well,” Nonis said. ”He’s another option. He’s an NHL forward, he’s scored 25 goals in this league. He’s only 27 years old. He’s got great foot speed, which is something that will give Randy (Carlyle) some more options.”
Raymond could fill a need for the Maple Leafs on the third line, where they have a hole after trading Matt Frattin to the Los Angeles Kings in the trade that sent goaltender Jonathan Bernier to Toronto.
But going to camp on a tryout is far from a guarantee.
”We’ll see if he’s a fit,” Nonis said. ”He’s a quality person and he’s a pretty good player, and he gives us some options.”
Not having restricted-free-agent centre Nazem Kadri signed didn’t seem to directly play into the decision. Nonis contacted Raymond’s agent, J.P. Barry, about a month ago to express interest depending on developments during the off-season.
Kadri and RFA defenceman Cody Franson still do not have new contracts, and Nonis said there was no progress on those fronts ”at this point.”
Raymond counted US$2.275 million against the Canucks’ salary cap last season, in which he had 10 goals and 12 assists.