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Canucks go to arbitration with Raymond

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver forward Mason Raymond has been an important part of the Canucks for five seasons and the restricted free agent will be back tormenting defences with his speed next season.

The details of his contract just may not be the same.

For the first time in team history the Canucks have activated a mechanism that exists in the collective bargaining agreement where, in lieu of tendering a qualifying offer to Raymond, the team will invoke salary arbitration to have his salary adjusted.

Laurence Gilman, Canucks VP of hockey operations & assistant general manager, said Wednesday that due to Raymond’s dip in production over the last few seasons, the club will rework his contract.

The arbitration process, which will take place in Toronto between July 20 and August 4, is no different than a player filing for salary arbitration, as Raymond did in 2010.

It’s all part of the business, said Gilman.

“This is about staying competitive in a salary cap system and it allows us to operate as efficiently as possible,” he said. “Mason is an important part of our team, one that we clearly see as part of our future going forward, if he weren’t part of the solution, we would not have tendered a qualifying offer and would have let him go as an unrestricted free agent.

“However, we felt that he can contribute on the ice and we believe that he can contribute in a manner that’s above his level of performance the last two years.”

Raymond played 55 games in 2011-12 after recovering from a fractured vertebrae suffered in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The forward produced 10 goals and 10 assists this past year; in 2010-11, Raymond had 15 goals and 24 helpers in 70 games. His combined point total over the last two seasons is six points more than the 53 (25-28-53) he put up in 2009-10.

Gilman has not spoken to Raymond, but he hopes that in the same way the Canucks respected Raymond’s salary arbitration two years ago, Raymond will return the favour.

“We’ve done several salary arbitrations in the last four years and they’ve all been done in a businesslike manner. The relationship between the player and the team has been as good after the fact as it was before the player invoked arbitration and I don’t see any reason why that won’t be the case here with Mason.”

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