Clarke MacArthur was one of the NHL’s most surprising players in 2013-14, while also being the Ottawa Senators’ fourth leading point-getter. While many, including myself, believed finances to be the club’s largest handicap heading into the 2014-15 season and beyond, we were proven wrong with the announcement of a Clarke MacArthur extension worth $23.25M over 5-years, late last week.
Happy to have Clarke MacArthur with us for another 5 years. Congratulations and thanks for committing to our @senators team!
— Eugene Melnyk (@MelnykEugene) August 20, 2014
On the surface, both the salary and term of the contract seem like overpayment for a 29-year-old who scored 20 goals for just the third time in his career last year, and has only broke 60 points in a season once. When considering what it may mean in the big picture however, it could be a bargain.
That big picture comes in the form of Bobby Ryan. The Sens’ highest paid forward (AAV of $5.1M) was acquired from the Ducks last July 1st, and has just this coming season remaining on his contract prior to becoming an unrestricted free-agent. His inaugural season in Canada’s capital was a bit of a disappointment. In addition to being left off of the USA’s Men’s Ice Hockey roster for the Sochi Olympics, he was limited to 70 games in which he put up just 48 points due to a sports hernia injury. Ryan and his agents hope that a second (and first healthy) season in Ottawa will allow him to re-establish himself as one of the league’s premier wingers and goal-scoring threats heading into his first year of free agency. The Senators however, are hoping that the ability to lock up MacArthur prevents that day from coming.
Clarke MacArthur says he will try and do his part to push Bobby Ryan to sign extension in Ottawa
— Ken Warren (@Citizenkwarren) August 20, 2014
Last season, the Sens’ line of MacArthur – Kyle Turris – Ryan was used more than any other trio of forwards at 14.36% of all even strength ice-time. An even more impressive feat considering that that line should be considered the second line, with the departed Jason Spezza and whoever his wingers were, comprising the top unit. Acquired to play with Spezza (in theory), Ryan ended up playing 77.5% of his 5v5 ice-time with Turris and 62.6% of it with MacArthur (Spezza was the third most common line mate, with the two sharing just 11.4% of their even strength ice-time).
While Turris and MacArthur are far-cries from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the three Sens are all still under the age of 30 and showed near instant chemistry with each a year ago, with each ranking inside the Senators’ top 10 in On-Ice Corsi (they made up the team’s top three in Relative Corsi Quality of Competition). So, while the extension of MacArthur won’t make the 2014-15 Ottawa Senators any better, a fully healthy Bobby Ryan almost certainly will.
Having both stick around for the 2015-16 season and beyond, is a necessity.
Esten McLaren graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc in Biological Sciences before enrolling at the College of Sports Media in Toronto. He graduated with a diploma in Radio and Television Sports Broadcasting in the spring of 2014 and now works at the FNTSY Sports Network in Toronto. Esten writes for lockerroomfantasysports.com and thefakehockey.com as well as for The Hockey Writers.