Mason Raymond is producing points for the Toronto Maple Leafs at roughly the same rate of his career season, 2009-10, when he posted 53 points in a full season. He has eleven goals and 15 assists for 26 points on the year, which is roughly the same pace. He may prove to be one of the more surprising stories on the Leafs this year.
Although Raymond is capable of scoring at roughly a 50-point pace, he has only managed to do so one other time in his career. He works very hard and is always present around the net, so it would be excellent if he could keep up his offensive production this year.
Raymond knows that he won’t draw as much attention from NHL defenders as, say, more accomplished scorers such as Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul. This can be key to his establishing a net-front presence because it allows him to set up less obviously than other stars (something he became good at playing in Vancouver as well).
Raymond continues to surprise this year, as he has been able to find the net much more often than Toronto management probably ever could have hoped for. Of course, overproducing has never been a problem in the NHL, it is when you under produce that you begin to draw the ire of those who watch you play. Raymond’s 11 goals are above and beyond what the coaching staff could have expected from him, they place him in a tie with Nazem Kadri for fourth on the team, just behind Joffrey Lupul.
I find that it always pays for a playoff-bound team to have scoring from unexpected sources. Raymond has been able to create and covert chances that are extremely helpful to his team, including timely goals that change the momentum in games. He has been one of the more efficient Leafs forwards so far this year.
Raymond has also proven himself in the postseason, experience which definitely helps his stock for the Leafs. Though the Canucks never did win the Cup, it is certainly relevant for the Leafs, who would love to make a deep playoff run this season after last year’s heartbreaking loss to the Bruins.
Raymond’s speed is probably his best asset in terms of creating scoring chances. He can often be found either in the corners or behind the net, trying to find holes in the opposing defense that can subsequently be exposed. His speed during the rush often creates odd-man chances and is a large part of the counterattacking offense for the Leafs, whose style is appropriate for a team that is often outshot.
Skilled teams like the Leafs need diggers like Raymond, who can get the puck out of the corner and create assists, as well as bang home rebounds and create traffic.
Raymond is also very helpful as a pest, who can often get too close to the opposing team’s goalie for comfort. He can take advantage of all these skills if the Leafs qualify for the playoffs.