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Vancouver Canucks forward Mason Raymond could hit pay dirt this summer, regardless of how far his team goes in the playoffs, Hockey Night in Canada analyst Glenn Healy told the Hotstove segment on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old Raymond had 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists) during the 2009-10 season.

He makes $600,000 a season, but Healy thinks he's worth about $3 million.

"I love this kid," he said. "[He] is going to be lights out. [Canucks' General Manager] Mike Gillis can thank his lucky stars that the Sedins took a $1.5 million [pay] cut so they could [all] stay in Vancouver."

NHL to recognize GMs with award

The top NHL general manager, as voted by his peers, will receive an award for the first time.

The NBA already recognizes its top GM with a trophy. The NHL version won't have a name until next season, when all the awards are likely to be renamed, HNIC's Pierre LeBrun said.

Also discussed on Hotstove:

  • Steve Yzerman won't comment on the Tampa Bay GM vacancy. But Yzerman will have to leave Detroit if he wants to pursue his executive goals, since Red Wings GM Ken Holland is about to sign an extension.
  • The NHL-KHL matchups to start the 2010-11 season are set, with Phoenix taking on Dinamo in Riga, Latvia, and Carolina playing against St. Petersburg in Russia.

But Mike Milbury, former Boston Bruins GM, and current HNIC analyst, isn't convinced.

Raymond will be a restricted free agent, and Milbury said the Canucks should at least take him to salary arbitration and see what kind of deal they get.

"The GMs are rolling over now," Milbury said. "They've got to fight back a little bit. Right now they're just caving on every contract."

However, that could be a slippery road to go down, from a GM's perspective, since most of the recent arbitration awards have favoured the players, Healy said.

While the Canucks are preparing to deal with one of their underpaid rising stars, their second-round playoff opponents are struggling with an overpaid problem between the pipes.

Backup goalie Cristobal Huet, who makes $5.625 million a season, hadn't played in a month, until he was inserted in place of a struggling Anttii Niemi in the third period of Game 1 against Vancouver.

"What's the plan B?" HNIC contributor Pierre LeBrun asked rhetorically. "They are going to have to stick with [Niemi]."

The Blackhawks handed Niemi the starting job when Huet faltered down the stretch of the regular season. At $800,000 a season, Niemi's salary is a mere fraction of what his counterpart makes.