Monday, July 26, 2010

Mason Raymond Signs, Avoids Arbitration

In retrospect, Cobie, it's a much bigger deal that you met Mason Raymond. Our apologies.

News is coming in this morning that the Vancouver Canucks and Mason Raymond have reached a contractual agreement on the steps of the courthouse. The numbers? 2 years, 5.1 million. That's a $2.55 million cap hit, and I do believe that sound you just heard was millions of Canucks fans breaking their jaws, especially after superagent J.P. Barry suggested Raymond was looking for between $3.5 and $4m.

My reaction to this signing? I love it. Gillis gets Raymond at a reasonable cap hit for two years. This is brilliant, because if he turns out to be a one-season wonder as a genuine top-six forward, he's still got a ton of value as a speedy checker. Even if his scoring numbers dip a little bit, Raymond is worth 2.5. As well, if Raymond turns out to be everything last season indicated, he's worth far more than 2.5, and joins Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelsson as remarkably underpaid top-six forwards. If Raymond outprices himself with two excellent seasons going forward and the Canucks can no longer afford him, the Canucks have bought themselves two years to see Hodgson, Schroeder, Rodin, or another of their young forwards develop into the spot. For Raymond, this puts him in a brilliant position to get a ton of money as a free agent in the prime of his career, which is likely why he agreed to what might otherwise seem like a fleecing. It might also have been because nobody likes being told what they're worth monetarily, and how it's not as much as they think.

As well, the Canucks have deftly managed their cap and are now in a good position to take a little bit of salary back if and when they trade Kevin Bieksa. All good things. Chalk this one up to another Mike Gillis win.

Skeeter's Thoughts

The deal has been confirmed according to Jason Botchford: Mason Raymond has signed a 2-year, 5.1 million dollar deal just before his arbitration hearing. Mike Gillis flew out from Vancouver on Saturday to get the deal done. The sound you're hearing might not be millions of Canucks fans breaking their jaws: it may just be a collective sigh of relief. Ever since reports came out that Raymond and his agent were seeking 3.5 to 4 million dollars in arbitration, I've been worried. While I never thought he would be awarded more than $3.5 million a season, I'm guessing the Thrashers never thought Clarke MacArthur would be awarded $2.4 million.

So to hear that Mike Gillis got him signed prior to arbitration for a deal with a mere $2.55 million dollar cap hit? That's a great way to wake up on a Monday morning.

It seems clear that Raymond's agent, J.P. Barry, was more concerned about the term of the contract than the dollar amount. While Raymond would certainly have been awarded more in arbitration, it likely would have been a one-year deal, with Raymond still being a Restricted Free Agent at the end of it. A two-year deal takes Raymond into Unrestricted Free Agency: if he performs up to his potential over the next two seasons, Raymond will price himself out of the Canucks lineup and receive a nice payday for some other team and the Canucks will get one hell of a bargain for those two seasons.

Well played, Gillis, well played. Now to figure out what to do about Salo and Bieksa.

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