VANCOUVER — If the Vancouver Canucks intend to become more robust up front next season, then slender left winger Mason Raymond likely won't be part of the new look.
General manager Mike Gillis admitted Thursday he wasn't certain – “I'm not sure,” he said – whether Raymond fits into his re-set plan. Raymond's contract is up and he stands to become an unrestricted free agent July 5. He collected 10 goals in 46 regular-season games and added another one in the playoffs.
Raymond, 6-0 and 182 pounds, conceded there have been no talks about an extension.
“No, as of right now, there haven't been any that I'm aware of,” Raymond said as the Canuck players did a final media session before heading to their off-season homes. “Things change and you never know what's going to happen. At the end of the day, you kind of sit back and wait.”
Raymond is a lifelong Canuck. He was drafted by the organization 51st overall in 2005 and has appeared in 429 games, including playoffs, since making his debut during the 2007-08 campaign. His best season was in 2009-10 when he scored 25 goals and added 28 assists. It was the only time he broke 20.
Raymond made a prorated $2.275 million this past season and would prefer to remain a Canuck.
“I started my career here and this is all I know and what I love,” said the Cochrane, Alta., native. “I started my family here. I had my son here and it's been nothing but good to me. I'd love to remain a Canuck.”
Asked if he was perhaps a little intrigued by the notion of playing for a different team, different coach, or in a city with less travel, Raymond replied: “There are so many what-ifs, right? I don't know. This is where my heart is. I'm a Canuck right now. What's in the future, we'll see.”
HE'S FREE, TOO: Another impending UFA, left-side defenceman Andrew Alberts, is keen to re-sign with the Canucks after finally establishig himself as a regular in the final month of the season. Alberts also has something Raymond lacks, which is size. He's 6-5 and a listed 218 pounds. He made $1.225 million in 2013.
“I'd love to be back but it's up to management to decide what they're going to do moving forward,” said Alberts, 31. “It's a great organization and a good team. Towards the end of the season, I started playing more and I started playing better. I thought I played my best hockey as a Canuck so I'd like to stay.”
Meanwhile, restricted free agent defenceman Chris Tanev, whose entry-level contract expires this summer, needs to hire an agent to do his negotiating.
“I'm going to figure that out here,” said Tanev, 23. “I don't really want to get into much detail but I'm not really in a big rush. I'm restricted so it doesn't matter.”
Tanev made $900,000 this past season.
SICK BAY WATCH: Defenceman Kevin Bieksa was reluctant to get into the problem – sports hernia perhaps? – that kept him out of the lineup three separate times for a total of 12 games. It was originally described as a groin issue.
“I don't want to tell you, to tell you the truth,” Bieksa said. “Obviously you saw I missed some skates and some practices so there are some issues there but I don't think it's really relevant to tell you exactly what's going on. It doesn't matter anymore. Who cares?
“We'll find out when the time comes if surgery is needed or anything like that.”
According to Gillis, rookie Jordan Schroeder (shoulder) is the only Canuck who might need surgery. Jannik Hansen sprained his right shoulder in the third period of Game 4 against San Jose but that will heal on its own. Chris Higgins finished the season with a sore knee that he will have checked out.
Hansen was hurt on a hit by former teammate and linemate Raffi Torres. The injury also prevents Hansen from joining the Danish national team at the world championships. He figures it's a 2-4 week issue.
“Raffi hit me in the corner,” explained Hansen. “It's what he does. We've seen it many times. You don't expect him to come hit you there and then, all of the sudden, he's there and you're not prepared. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep playing. I was sitting on the training table watching the overtime and hoping we could find a way to get that elusive goal.”
Hansen's twin sons, born prematurely two months ago, are still in hospital so he'll stick around Vancouver until they're released and then the family will head to Winnipeg for the summer.
FARM REPORT: The Canucks still don't have a new home for their recently purchased American Hockey League franchise, the former Peoria Rivermen. Gillis ruled out Rogers Arena as a possible destination.
“I don't think that's possible,” he said, adding there were two cities being considered.
QUOTABLE: “I think Alain did a great job with us for the last 7-8 years. He's really good for our group.” – Canuck winger Alex Burrows discussing the possibility head coach Alain Vigneault will walk the plank after a second straight playoff failure.
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