The Boston Bruins still need a solution to both wings on their third line despite all of the changes that have come to the squad this summer. There is not a whole bunch of money left to sign players, so they have to think long and hard about who they bring in. Mason Raymond may be that player that the Bruins could strike gold with if they are willing to take a chance on him.
The former Vancouver Canuks player may ring a bell for those who remember him as the one who broke his back in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals thanks to Johnny Boychuk checking him into the boards. But that does not do Raymond justice. The 27 year-old winger has put up solid numbers in his past few seasons.
Fans will be tempted to point to his 25-goal season back in 2009-10, but let’s remember that back injury will set players back a few years. Critics have to give him credit about his toughness. Despite his injury, his physical and aggressive style has not wavered as he is known for working down low in the dirty areas to win the puck. His skill set brings some of the fastest speed in the NHL and a quick release on his wrist shot.
If people are unsure about his ability, one upside on Raymond would be his price tag. His salary last year was only $2.3 million. This is a bargain for a solid player with potential still possibly untapped.
There is no reason why he can not regain his form or at least continue to perform at his current level. 10 goal and 12 assists over the shortened season last year is nothing to complain about; Nathan Horton has similar numbers last regular season.
If management is willing to take a chance on Raymond, the divideneds could be huge. He could come back as the same player from a handful of seasons ago with years to go in his career. In the worst-case scenario, he will just be an average player for the third line. At least he will be a consistent one, something the Bruins have not had.
Factor in the fact that he will cost pennies compared to similar talent on the market, and he is a player the Bruins should seriously consider.
Tim Nikolouzos is a Boston Bruins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @timnikolou