Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mason Raymond Ready in Vancouver

While the Vancouver Canucks experienced a sort of renaissance last season, it wasn't all rosy for former UMD Bulldog Mason Raymond.

After a hot start to the season, Raymond's offensive production died off, and he finished the season with only 11 goals and 23 points.

The season wasn't a complete loss for Raymond, however. That was because he developed his two-way game, and became such a reliable player in his own zone that the Canucks were using him as a top-four penalty-killing forward during the playoffs.

Anyone who watched Raymond at UMD wasn't surprised. Along with Bryan McGregor, Raymond was called on to use his vast offensive skills and skating ability as a penalty-killer during his sophomore season as a Bulldog. Because of that speed, Raymond is never truly out of a play.

At the pro level, Raymond has shown good instincts in the defensive zone, and now he recognizes that it's time to bring that offensive game around to form.

He called this upcoming season a "big year." And it is. Raymond is entering his third season, and no longer can be considered a kid on this team.

"I've gone through my younger years," Raymond said. "I expect a lot of myself right now. I know I can be better on and off the ice.

"Every year, you want to be better as player. I feel I've worked hard in the summer.

"I am trying to get stronger, faster, and doing everything I can to be better. For me this is a big year.

"As far as my goals, there are things I will keep to myself. But I will tell you I want to be good night in, night out. I want to be counted on in every game."

Raymond and the Canucks open the regular season Oct. 1 at Calgary.

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