2012-13 Player Review: Clarke MacArthur

2012-13 Player Review: Clarke MacArthur

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MLHS Player Reviews is doing their best to round out the Leafs top six (hint-hint, Dave) by profiling alternate captain, left winger and pending UFA, Clarke MacArthur.   In his third season with the Maple Leafs, the Lloydminster, Alberta native tallied eight goals and 12 assists en route to 20 points in 40 games played.  Yet his season, like so many Leafs, was tumultuous, and his future in Toronto is unclear.

Mostly used as a second line or ‘1A’ winger since arriving in Toronto, MacArthur was bumped up and down through the lineup this season, skating on an offense-minded third line with Nazem Kadri and Nikolai Kulemin or Colton Orr, or a two-way third line with Mikhail Grabovski and Matt Frattin (or, sadly, Colton Orr).

MacArthur’s play style can be hard to define, as he possesses a lot of tools but no truly dominant one.  While both creative with the puck and fairly sturdy along the boards, I wouldn’t typify his game as purely skill based or rugged.  He has a great first step and good speed, and a deceptively accurate wrist and slap shot (career 13.9% shooting is nothing to sniff at).  When he’s on his game, he’s first in on the forecheck, and finds a way to separate himself from the opposition in front of the net.

He rounds out his offensive game with laudable passing skills, the vision to find an open, attacking player, and the numbers to back it up.  Interestingly enough, MacArthur was the best Leaf player at driving the puck towards the opposition’s net, evidenced by his team leading Corsi score (yes, of -3.93, but seriously this team was outshot handily all season).  His relative Corsi score of 16.2 was the highest on the team, further evidence to both his possession game and ability to contribute offense in less noticeable ways.

Yet one of MacArthur’s biggest knocks is that he’s inconsistent offensively; and his critics point to his declining box stats since his 62-point debut in 2010-11.  But a lot of the numbers simply don’t bear it out.  While hardly earthshattering, his 20 points was 6th best among Leaf forwards; as was his .50 points per game average.  Acceptable – if unspectacular – numbers from a second line winger.

In truth, MacArthur’s offensive prowess extends well beyond this season.  In the 195 games that MacArthur has played in Toronto he’s produced at a notable .64 point per game pace.  MacArthur’s 125 points tie him for the second most (with Grabovski) among Leafs in the past three seasons.

The most proximate cause of MacArthur’s purported offensive woes this season appear to stem from his usage and time on ice.  In 2013, MacArthur played just under 15 minutes a night and was featured on the second power play unit where he received a meagre 1:38 of ice-time a game.  He saw 17 minutes a night, three on the powerplay, in his heroic 2010-11 season and scored 19 points (roughly 1/3 of his total) on the man advantage.  He also averaged 2 shots per game in his first two seasons in Toronto and only 1.5 this one.  He had less time and fewer opportunities to succeed this season than in seasons past, and his offense receded because of it.  Even in a reduced role he’s a 40-point guy, and clearly capable of more.

Though it must be said he has faults.  Though scoring can be fairly random and luck driven on a game-to-game basis, if MacArthur isn’t scoring, he’s not always providing much value to on-ice product.  While no slouch in his own zone, he doesn’t have the defensive acumen and reliability to make him an ideal hybrid winger.  His competition numbers suggest that he was lining up against third liners, not top offensive guys.  It is easier to drive play against a weaker opponent than yourself.

And while not particularly a knock on his game per se, he doesn’t seem to be on the right side of Randy Carlyle.  The 2012-13 season provided clear evidence that Carlyle has and plays his favourites; and MacArthur was not of them.  He was benched during the regular season; and in Games 2 and 3 of the playoffs before returning to the lineup and tallying goals in back to back games.  Even with the clutch production, MacArthur still saw his ice time drop by almost two-and-a-half minutes in post season.

Should GM Dave Nonis choose to go in another direction and not re-sign Clarke MacArthur, it could come down to some simple numbers games.  The Leafs already have a capable flight of scoring wingers signed in Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk, Nik Kulemin and Matt Frattin.  The salary cap is falling and while the Leafs have a bevy of cap space right now, it will quickly be eaten up by more prominent Leafs like Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson and Carl Gunnarsson.  With free agency fast approaching, the team’s needs are defense-minded defensemen and effective checkers to fill out the bottom half of the forward ranks.

That only leaves so many dollars, and so many spots, and it could spell an abrupt end to the mercurial tenure of one of the best Leaf scorers in the Burke era.

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Plays of the Year:

Without a doubt, the biggest goal Clarke MacArthur has ever scored in a blue and white jersey.  MacArthur kicks an errant puck forward to himself, blows past the flat-footed Bruins defender and cuts sharply to the inside to tuck a backhander past Tuukka Rask in Game 5.  The goal stood up as the eventual winner, and showcases the speed and cerebral play that hallmarks Clarke’s play.

What’s so impressive about this play from MacArthur might not be readily noticeable, but he does a bunch of great things that lead to this goal.  He harasses the Flyers’ D, leading to a turnover then heads to the front of the net.  MacArthur then provides a screen in front of a shot, and then circles the Flyers to create space for himself and lose his checker.  Only after outplaying the five Flyers skaters was Clarke ready to outclass Bryzgalov on this goal.

He’s a magic man, with magic hands.   MacArthur slips to the front of the net then quickly and deftly tucks the puck through Johan Hedberg’s wickets.

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RATE THIS PLAYER: Out of 10, rate Clarke MacArthur’s season relative to his role, opportunity/usage and the expectations for the player entering the season. Be sure to back it up.

1510 comments
theacs1966
theacs1966

IT's off topic but what about Zidlicky for a short term partner for Phaneuf?  He has decent production, last year 19 pts in 48 about the same when he was in Klando.  Eats lots of minutes too, don't know too much about his game though, he played 21 minutes last year, is 36 made 4 mil.  Or someone like this.  Suggestions?

LeafsForLife
LeafsForLife

Just wanted to weigh in on the TB rumors. I think i got most of the story straight. I would only do the deal if we are not giving up anything too significant. No to Gardiner and no to trading our 1st round pick this year. I would love to have Drouin and McKinnon would be great too. I think either of them would work great for the Leafs. Either way i think we would come out looking very good.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

Worst of the storms have moved on over the big lakes and headed to the States

Uncle Otis' Weather Watch is now over and we return you to your regular hockey programming :)

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

Looks like this storm went right by Mississauga.  Not a drop of rain...no wind...no lightening....nadda.  Perfect night to puff a rocket out back.  Strange how weather patterns can be so different yet so close in proximity.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

With Bettman bent on and American city/Seattle getting the Phoenix  mess,I wonder why NHL doesn't consider a spot like Wisconsin.

I know they don't have the population base,but how well did that work out in the desert?

Rabid hockey fans and they would support the hell out of the team I bet

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Would set up a great rivalry with Minnesotta. Leafs have at least three from Minni on the roster

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

Radar shows your just getting a little shower in Peterborough area Keon

Something tracking thru Newmarket-ish looks nastier.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@wiski hey Conan they should have bought you a "Hi I'm a Ginger and not funny" mug instead.

theacs1966
theacs1966

@canuckintheuk @LeafsForLife For a once in a decade chance to pick so high in this kind of draft, I would throw in out 1st.  Agree, no Jake in this deal, I see him as a Karlsson next year if he stays healthy. However, if we did this trade it would have to be for a centre.  If we can't get a centre than we should forget it, with the possible exception of Nichushion.(badly spelled I know)

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@Uncle Otis @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

I'm not so certain about that.  If there's any meat to this rumor of us getting Tampa's 3rd by taking on Lecav...and then buying him out....and we can do it without giving up our 1st (21st)....then we could put a very good package together for Colorado for 1st overall by throwing in next years 1st with the lot.  It's a LOT to give up....but it would get us McK and for all intents and purposes, I think he's worth it.  Colorado may bite on that package to move down only 2 spots (especially if they think just as highly on the other 2...Jones and Drouin). 

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

Green Bay would be awesome..Milwaukee might make more sense though.

Wisconsin Badgers 

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Cameron19 

I'd be torn if we weren't so desperate for a center.

I like Seth's extra large frame(still growing..is that right?), his athletic pedigree and skill. Seems like a good kid too.

Still wish we could have gotten Oleksiak a couple years back with Dallas' 14th

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

If you could somehow get Fla to guarantee they don't take Seth,then there might be a shot.

Don't know the rules about that...Im sure there are ways around giving Fla something for their troubles.

They may like Drouin or Barkov anyway

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

Ya,the best part about Gillis not getting canned is getting to watch him roll in his own feces for another year

God I hope he hires Torts :)

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Uncle Otis @Cameron19 I'm not doubting the package could work out amazingly, but you can surely see how it might also be a disaster.  There are still questions about whether Grigo was even a legitimately aged prospect, and even if Miller turns out to be right back on top of his game, he could easily just leave Colorado and sign where he chooses.  He'll also be 34 next summer when he makes that decision.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Cameron19 

Grigo is still good currency,and certainly no slouch as a prospect.

I think Miller comes back in top form out of Buffalo...he can be the best tender in the league when on.

Over the last 7 or so years,he'd be my pick as best

Hate the prick though.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

Just saying if that Sabres rumour is true,I can't imagine what we'd have to offer to top it/get their attention.

Only fly in the ointment is Sir Patrick..he has no attachments to Seth and will be a powerful voice.

Cant wait for the draft either way.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Uncle Otis @Cameron19 @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Yea, depends what the "defensemen" piece of that rumored deal is though.  Miller, Grigo and the 8th overall is a good package, but Miller is a pending UFA and is questionably on the decline. Grigo is a questionable prospect, too, as far as I'm concerned.  

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Cameron19 @Uncle Otis @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

Did u see the rumoured Sabres offering?..that was a tad dramatic/what I was referring to.

No way are the Av's moving their pick unless you can guarantee them Seth at two

They are caught up in the PR with Joe/Popeye/Seth and the wonderful saleable backstory.

Me,I'd take that Sabres deal in a heartbeat..instant playoff team

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

Weed was all I need haha

Remember tripping to Skynard's Freebird there once..phenominal

Think it was shut down a couple decades ago, no?

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

Got home to the east end at it was untouched..got on our bikes and rode back ten miles or so. Army was just rolling in..very surreal scene. Horses from the racetrack running wild,people needing help all over,just overwhelming the force that nature possesses.

Had many friends/relatives up Allandale way and they either lost their homes or had irreparable damages.

Fortunately none died/badly injured,but many close calls/horror stories. Think we lost 10 in that one,which was kind of miraculous in itself.

Anyway,since then folks up this way are a little nervous when there are thunderstorm warnings...I even built a cement tornado room in my basement under the porch!

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

Maybe that's it then...there was little for it to destroy...all farm land near Dalston

Brother,you should have walked through Barrie in '85

Looked like the south end had a bomb dropped on it....yet you would come across small areas and homes untouched, surrounded by chaos and devastation. This was seen all over strangely.

Was driving home the Friday from Toronto/work,tried to get away early,didnt, and missed it by an hour.

Otherwise I likely would have been in the thick of it..

Fate

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

A little hamlet called Dalston..just N/E of Barrie

Someone actually filmed it with a phone and it was on local CTV news...looked to be a 1 or 2 scaler

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

A little nervous of twisters being from Barrie..and my kid's school got missed by less than a km last month by a small one..took down a barn/trees etc ..students were awfully scared

Very least get your car in a garage as the hail damage can be a bitch.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

North York,Oshawa,Pickering are gonna get hammered by 11ish...worst of the cells heading their way

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@-Keon- 

I see that now..was thinking you were closer to Peterborough

Seems to have let up..but that Newmarket ones gaining steam.

Missed us by a whisker,but folks said trees down in Barrie