The Toronto Maple Leafs went to free agency with four unrestricted free agents left unprotected, plus the two players that Toronto used compliance buy outs on. What happened to them early on?
It was surprising that Mike Komisarek, rather than perhaps the more highly-coveted Mikhail Grabovski or even Tyler Bozak, that signed the first deal of the six available Leafs. He got a year at $700k in Carolina, which is a risk-free redemption contract for a player that’s already made his money.
Komisarek though, had trouble on the top pairing for Toronto’s AHL club, but I can see why a team would be willing to give him a short term deal to see if there were any distractions in Toronto.
The second Leaf to sign though stings a little bit more. While Mike Komisarek will probably not come back to hurt the Maple Leafs, Clarke MacArthur playing in Ottawa certainly will. Though they felt the need to sign Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren to two-year deals, MacArthur never fit for some reason.
MacArthur, the man who scored the clutch goal in Game 4 that erased Colton Orr’s elbowing penalty that resulted in a David Krejci powerplay goal:
MacArthur, the bargain signing in 2011 that scored 21 goals for the Maple Leafs, and re-upped for two years that scored 20 goals again in 2012, is now an Ottawa Senator, signed for a two-year contract on I guess what you could call a redemption deal as well. It’s multi-year,
Steve Simmons was on TSN already talking about how MacArthur came up in big moments but was otherwise a “bit player”, and didn’t seem to even encroach on the suggestion that the Leafs screwed up royally in splitting up the MGK line that had so much success for Toronto between 2010 and 2012. Mikhail Grabovski, MacArthur and Kulemin were 2, 3 and 4 on the Leafs in scoring in those seasons.
David Johnson and I don’t always agree, but we seemed to on the MacArthur and Bozak issues. MacArthur was an excellent, cheap, versatile winger that had a spot on the roster until Randy Carlyle arrived. Compared to Daniel Alfredsson, a player that the Senators
Alfredsson vs MacArthur 5v5 last 3 years: Alfredsson: 0.600 G/60, 1.45 pts/60 MacArthur: 0.802 G/60, 1.97 Pts/60
— David Johnson (@hockeyanalysis) July 5, 2013
Despite being one of the best rate players on the team, MacArthur didn’t fit with Carlyle. He didn’t even want a raise to stick around with Toronto, even as the new coach and manager didn’t seem to think he was a decent fit.
MacArthur stays at the same money he was making was Leafs. Was all he wanted to remain with team, too, I believe.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 5, 2013
What’s the deal with MacArthur? Why the bad rap? He encapsulates everything we like about good hockey players. He’s tough, he doesn’t complain, he’ll play for cheap, he scores goals, he scored clutch goals, he drives possession.
He was 5th on the Leafs in points per 60 between 2010 and 2013. He was first in Corsi, with a 51.8% rate. Part of the reason for Grabovski’s theorized decline in possession numbers the past season is partly because he was split up with MacArthur, who is an unspectacular player that just plays the game.
I will never understand why Clarke MacArthur didn’t fit with Randy Carlyle. There’s a small portion of every intelligent member of the Leafs fanbase that wants to see MacArthur torch the Leafs as a division rival for the next two seasons. Or maybe not, but he deserved better in Toronto and will be missed on this blog.