NHL Trade Rumors: Clarke MacArthur Must Be Re-signed

February 26th, 2011 No Comments

The clock is ticking on pending restricted free agent Clarke MacArthur’s  future with the Toronto Maple Leafs and if MacArthur is not signed to a new long term contract by Monday’s trade deadline he is likely going to be moved.

For Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, he must not only evaluate the value of MacArthur—who leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 46 points in 61 games— and the value of keeping Toronto’s second unit of Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and the aforementioned MacArthur in place.

Chemistry is a very powerful thing in hockey. Grabovski, Kulemin and MacArthur had never met fan expectations before this season. Now, together, all three players have surpassed expectations from both the fans and the organization, which leads one to believe that Burke would not be foolish enough to break this hard working/skillful trio up.

The issue for Burke is trying to quantify what MacArthur is worth? From my seat a 2-3 year deal in the $3 million range would seem to be on point, but with a new agent in toe (Don Meehan) MacArthur may be looking to cash in large.

After going through arbitration with the Atlanta Thrashers last summer MacArthur was awarded a $2.4 million in salary for the 2010-11 season. The Thrashers balked at the arbitrators findings, choosing to let MacArthur become an unrestricted free agent, which later led to Brian Burke picking him up at a bargain basement price of $1.1 million.

Is MacArthur replaceable? Sure, but can anyone guarantee that MacArthur’s linemates won’t be affected negatively if they were to lose one of their wing men? And, is that something Burke really wants to risk?

One thing going for Burke is that in the event that he cannot come to an agreement on a new contract with MacArthur he will be able to entertain a number of trade scenario’s. MacArthur’s performance this season and low contract should get the attention of a number of playoff teams should MacArthur become expendable at the deadline.

In the end Burke will probably end up re-signing MacArthur. Burke said publicly that MacArthur has said “he’d like to stay”. Burke went on to say that MacArthur would be “crazy not to (re-sign in Toronto), playing in a city like this with linemates (Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin) like that.

As crazy as MacArthur might be for leaving, Burke would be crazy not to bring the hard working MacArthur back. Here’s hoping Burke and MacArthur find some common ground before the February 28th trade deadline…

Until next time,

Peace!

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