In yesterday’s post there was a quick thought on what the Toronto Maple Leafs will decide to do with their lineup once the injured Joffrey Lupul returns from injury. Naturally, the assumption would be that Lupul would be re-united with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, especially when one looks at the career years both Lupul and Kessel coaxed out of each other in 2011-2012. However, with James Van Riemsdyk beginning to establish chemistry in place of Lupul, it may be more effective if coach Randy Carlyle spreads his offensive weapons out evenly. The more likely situation then becomes that Lupul slides onto the wing with Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin. Lupul’s net drive and ability to find the open areas on the ice seemingly makes him compatible with Kadri and Frattin. The fact that Lupul’s skating enables him to keep with the young duo would also make that trio a good fit. Whether Lupul rejoins Kessel and Bozak or finds himself alongside Kadri and Frattin, it’s obvious that Clarke MacArthur will be the one on the outside looking in.
MacArthur is an interesting case. Many fans hate the idea of MacArthur being traded, yet they cannot explain where he fits on the roster. With Leo Komarov joining Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin on Carlyle’s shutdown line, the writing is on the wall for MacArthur’s exit from Toronto. A pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season, MacArthur has become a luxury that the Leafs no longer require, and will soon not be able to afford. Currently in the final year of a contract that sees him earn $3.25 million per season, it goes without saying that the 28 year old MacArthur is in line for a raise once he hits the open market. Below are a list of comparable wingers that struck it rich as UFA’s the past couple of seasons.
|Player||Contract (Cap Hit)||Career High Points||UFA Age|
|Scottie Upshall||4 years $14 million ($3.5)||30||28|
|Kris Versteeg||4 years $17.6 million (4.4)||58||25|
|Ville Leino||6 years $27 million (4.5)||53||27|
|Tuommo Ruutu||4 years $19 million (4.75)||57||28|
|PA Parenteau||4 years $16 million (4)||67||28|
|David Jones||4 years $16 million (4)||45||27|
In fact, when you compare the current Leaf to the players listed above, keep in mind that since the 2010-2011 season MacArthur’s .65 points per game average places him behind only Parenteau’s .76 ppg and Versteeg’s .67 ppg on the list above. Therefore, should the Leafs be intent on keeping their alternate captain in the fold, General Manager Dave Nonis should expect to begin the negotiations at $4 million per season. If I had to guess I’d imagine MacArthur ends up getting a deal very similar to Versteeg’s. There is no doubting MacArthur’s value to the Leafs, but with Kessel, Lupul, JVR, Kulemin and Frattin all under contract beyond this season, the writing is on the wall as to who becomes the odd man out.
The question then becomes what MacArthur can fetch the Leafs at, or prior to, the trade deadline? Nonis would be a fool to allow a character winger that is capable of providing offense to walk away for free this summer. The trade market for MacArthur definitely exists. By the graph above, it’s obvious that players like MacArthur are in demand. For example, a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins, desperately looking for an upgrade on the wing, will certainly be sniffing around MacArthur. At the 2010-2011 trade deadline, there were rumours that the Nashville Predators were offering Ryan Ellis to the Leafs for MacArthur. A pending RFA at the time of that rumour, MacArthur’s value is slightly lower at this time. Value though is in the eye of the beholder. There may very well develop a bidding war this spring and I’ll be interested to see what Nonis can turn MacArthur into. Either way, the end is nigh for MacArthur in Toronto. Nothing personal Clarke, just business.