James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail has a couple of interesting updates for your Family Day:
– The Maple Leafs are exploring a contract extension with impending restricted free agent forward Clarke MarArthur. In the midst of a career season, the 25 year old Alberta native is on pace for 24 goals and 63 points, while displaying excellent chemistry with Kulemin and Grabovski on the club’s second line. MacArthur’s agent would likely point to the 3 year, $3.75 million cap hit handed out to Claude Giroux, while the Leafs’ brass could counter with James Neal’s 2 year, $2.75 million cap hit. A middle ground just north of Grabovski’s 3 year, $2.9 million per season cap hit could satisfy both sides. Mirtle notes in his piece that if the Leafs cannot make progress in talks with MacArthur, they will begin to listen to trade offers.
– In an effort to fill the vacancies left by Tomas Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin, Burke appears to be closing in on a trade to land another blueliner who could suit up for the Maple Leafs as early as tomorrow night’s game at home against the Islanders. It has been speculated over the last week that the Flyers’ 3rd round pick, acquired via the Versteeg trade, has been dangled as part of a package to add a young NHL-ready defenseman. One team with plenty of depth on the back end is the Nashville Predators, who may be willing to part with the likes of Cody Franson or Jon Blum, both quality young puckmovers, provided the price is right. The Stars’ Matt Niskanen could also be an intriguing buy-low candidate. The 24 year old puckmover and former 1st round selection flashed top pairing potential early into his career but has struggled with inconsistency and constantly decreasing ice-time over the past couple of seasons.