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Burke Gets a Bargain in MacArthur

In my column from Friday, I suggested the Maple Leafs take a run at free agent Tim Kennedy after Buffalo gave him the pink-slip. Yet a few hours after posting, this – or the addition of any scoring forward – seemed unlikely. As he often does, though, Leafs GM Brian Burke surprised me with his ability to make the best of a bad cap-situation

A trade with Tampa Bay late on Friday added Matt Lashoff to Toronto’s defense corps, bringing their number of NHL-level d-men up to nine and pushing them within $1.5 million of the cap ceiling. Although Lashoff has only played 63 NHL games over the last four seasons, he’ll have to clear waivers this season to be sent down to the AHL, so it looks like the Leafs want him for big-club duty.

By Saturday though, Leafs GM Brian Burke pulled the trigger on a deal that looks even better than what I was proposing with Kennedy. Left wing Clarke MacArthur – another Sabres product – signed with Toronto for a steal at $1.1 million,after Atlanta walked away from his $2.4 million arbitration award. After posting career numbers in both games played (81) and points (31), the 25-year-old is just entering his prime.

While only a year older than Kennedy, MacArthur already has 208 NHL games under his belt, leaving him far more experienced at this level than Kennedy, who has only played in 79. Add in MacArthur’s points-per-game average at 0.42 over Kennedy’s 0.33, and the fact that Toronto will still hold MacArthur’s RFA rights after this season, it’s clear that Burke is getting the most bang for his team’s buck.

With less than $400,000 left in cap space, it’s looking like RFA Christian Hanson will be the odd man out on the Leafs roster. I’ll keep tabs on this story as it develops.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, clarke+macarthur, matt+lashoff, tim+kennedy

Comments

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

I was a fan of the MacArthur signing. I believe most players coming out of Buffalo are solid, two-way responsible hockey players. Thomas Vanek jumps out as the odd man out in Buffalo as a one trick pony. He can score but ask him to back check and you’d rather get your grandmother to lace up skates.

I agree that its a good addition to the leafs but still think they are need of a bona fide top-line center.  How do you feel about the Leafs down the middle?

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 08/31/10 at 01:39 PM ET

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There’s no doubt that the Leafs are weakest at center. Looking at MacArthur’s assets on his Hockey News player bio page <http://forecaster.thehockeynews.com/hockeynews/hockey/player.cgi?3565> he’s noted as being able to play center and wing, which I think is one of the reasons the Leafs pursued him.

As of now it’s not looking like there’s a top line center for Toronto, when you add up Mikhail Grabovski, Nazem Kadri, MacArthur and Tyler Bozak, what you’re left with is really four second-line centers.

Bozak should start the season on the first line, as he was last season. He put up decent numbers in the last half of the season (27 points in 37games for a 0.73 PPG), and between Kris Versteeg and Phil Kessel he’ll have plenty of help, but I think he’s gonna feel the sophomore sting much like Derick Brassard did in Columbus. We may even see MacArthur take his place as he’s bringing much more big league experience to the bench.

And as for Kadri, with the tight cap the Leafs are now under, he might be looking at another year of development, regardless of how well he looks in camp.

Posted by Anthony Murphy from St. John's, NL, Canada on 08/31/10 at 04:59 PM ET

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I’m also glad to see that Tim Kennedy got a job with the Rangers, and that his old team will be seeing a lot of him—so that they can be frequently reminded why they shouldn’t have passed on him.

Posted by Anthony Murphy from St. John's, NL, Canada on 08/31/10 at 05:08 PM ET

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So Toronto signed Christian Hanson yesterday, <http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=332253> to a two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level, according to Capgeek.com. This puts Toronto over the salary cap by roughly $275,000, <http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=4> but bear in mind that, for any the Leafs to actually exceed the cap in real money this season, all their young players will have to reach their performance bonuses, which make up over $5 million of the team’s salary. With the mediocre performance I’m expecting our of Toronto this year, I’m not too worried about that happening.

Also, I’m noticing a trend where when I write about an unsigned player, they get signed so soon that my article quickly becomes old news (Tim Kennedy and now Hanson). Therefore, I believe that I am entitled to some sort of commission from these players or their agents. Clearly, talks were going nowhere for these two players until I set the web afire with my analysis, right? ... [sounds of crickets chirping]

Who knows, maybe I’ll decide to write about the Kovalchuk saga and finally put that mess to bed.

Now what’s 15% of 100 million?

Posted by Anthony Murphy from St. John's, NL, Canada on 09/01/10 at 10:34 PM ET

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