The Vancouver Canucks are looking to cut forward Mason Raymond’s salary for next season. The team will reportedly use a cut-down arbitration provision in the National Hockey League’s collective bargaining agreement to attempt to limit what the winger will make next season.
Raymond, who becomes a restricted free agent on July 1, made $2.6 million last season and that’s what a qualifying offer would cost the club, but the Canucks want his salary reduced by as much as 15 per cent.
It is common for players to file for salary arbitration, but it is rare for a team to do it.
“It is the first time to my knowledge this club has invoked salary arbitration and it is most assuredly the first time in the four years we have been here we have invoked salary arbitration,” Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman told the Vancouver Sun Wednesday.
“If we didn’t feel that Mason was worthwhile we would have not qualified him and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Mason is an important part of our team and has been for five years. We obviously plan for Mason to be a component of this team going forward. And Mason has the full support of our organization through this process.”
This isn’t the first time Raymond and the Canucks have been involved in less-than-ideal contracts talks.
Following the expiration of his three-year entry level deal in 2010, the Cochrane, Alta., native became a restricted free agent and filed for salary arbitration after not being able to come to terms on a deal. The two sides eventually came to an agreement and Raymond signed a two-year, $5.1 million contract, which expires on July 1.
The 26-year-old is coming off a career-worst season in 2011-12, registering 20 points in 55 games. Raymond has played 328 NHL regular season games, all with the Canucks, with whom he has 70 goals and 156 points.