Announced just fifteen minutes before the arbitration deadline, Clarke MacArthur will be in Blue and White for the next two seasons at $3.25 million per annum (the updated cap situation is availableÂ here, with the Leafs now at roughly $7.34 million in cap space with Schenn and Bozak left to sign).
It seems the talk from Brian Burke about going to arbitration and “re-evaluating” if theÂ settlementÂ was too high was a bit of a negotiating tactic to get this deal done before it went before an arbitrator. The talk for months was about Burke’s unwillingness to go above three million a season for this player, but a return to Toronto is what both sides wanted and was accomplished with a little compromise (and perhaps som consideration for the new cap climate). ‘Mac in the USSR’ is back and what was a pleasant surprise of a season in 2010-11 has become the expectation for Clarke heading into 2011-12.
The contract seems like a reasonable sum given Clarke’s output last year and the fact that Ville Leino â€“ an adequate but overpaid comparable – is getting $4,500,000 from the Buffalo Sabres for the next six years under an ever-increasing cap ceiling.
The money and term both qualify as fair in my books. Two years is just enough time for MacArthur to prove heâ€™s a legitimate top six NHL player and, based on what we heard from Loiselle, the money involved would most likely stayed relatively unchanged had Clarke filed for arbitration.
Knowing that, there are two reasons for Leafs fans to be happy about how this went down. First, the contract is a good indication of how much Burke really values MacArthur (he went above 3 mil.). Secondly, the deal was reached before MacArthur filed for arbitration, which says something about his relationship with the Maple Leafs. Now itâ€™s up to him to prove Burke right.
From MLHS‘ Nikhil Daljeet: