Looking through most of my blogs and across Canucks forums, it seems like all we talk about in the past few months is looking for that first-line right-winger to play with the Sedins. So many of us have suggested trading away our star players for those top-line forwards.
But it seems like the search is over. Why look elsewhere to find star-talents when we already have a home-brewed natural scorer in Mason Raymond.
For those of you who don’t know, we drafted Raymond 51st overall in the second round of 2005 draft. Since then, he played in the WCHA for two seasons and then opted to drop-out from college to join the Moose in the 06-07 season. He was called up to the big club twice in 2007.
This is the first year Raymond started out as a regular in the Canucks line-up. Starting the season playing on the second line with Demitra and Pyatt, Raymond showed signs of brilliance in scoring goals. Named as the Canucks’ fastest skater in the SuperSkills Competition, Raymond adds an extra element to Canucks’ game.
As of today, although only 10 games into the season, he’s the scoring leader of the team with 4 goals. Of course it’s too early to suggest he will have a break-out year this year, or that he will remain the scoring leader for long, the goals Raymond scores are often highlight-reel materials.
I am a super Bure fan, and I think I see a lot of Bure’s shadow in Raymond. Again, it’s unfair to compare the two at this early on, but I think Vigneault’s decision to move him up to the first line with the Sedins definitely shows his potential, and skills level.
However, I don’t think that playing Raymond with the Sedins is the wisest decision in the long run. Its main purpose right now is simply to help out the Sedins, since they are having a very slow start this season. Imagine that, our rookie helping the veteran star players gain confidence.
I think Bernier is actually the better choice for the Sedins. Their chemistry was clear during the pre-season games, and only if we separate Raymond from the Sedins, can we spread out the offense. Canucks’ biggest problem throught the past few years has always been one-line scoring, be it the Naslund/Morrison/Bertuzzi era or the Sedins/Carter, Sedins/Naslund line-up. If Demitra can stay healthy, I think the Raymond/Demitra/Pyatt line is a decent second-line for any team.
Anyways, the reason for this blog is mainly about the goal he scored tonight against the Kings. He fully utilized his skills by positioning at the point, and then moving up to the goalie, passing the defenseman and roofing the puck pass the goalie. It showed such confidence, judgement and skills, that you rarely see in such a young player.
I hope I won’t jinx it with what I wrote, but he’s just become my favorite Canuck right now, edging Kesler by just a little.
Here’s a video of Raymond found on Youtube: