Clarke MacArthur: Where Will He Fit with Toronto Maple Leafs This Season?
There has been a lot of speculation in Toronto media about who will take the top spot at centre. Whichever player lands that position, it could change the look of the Maple Leafs drastically this season.
One player who should be watching once training camp (hopefully) begins is Clarke MacArthur.
The left winger was an offseason free-agent signing in the summer of 2010. MacArthur had played for both Buffalo and Atlanta before landing in Toronto, and his numbers were nothing to get excited about.
The fans in Toronto may have been skeptical when MacArthur first took the ice, but when the season ended and MacArthur had notched a career high 61 points, no one doubted him.
While he was unable to reach the 50-plus point mark last season, he still had a great year. Even with the mid-season collapse, MacArthur managed to net 43 points, his second highest season total.
Part of his success has been tied to his linemates, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. When the three were put on the ice together in 2010-11, they took over the scoring duty from the first line.
Kulemin slumped last season, yet both MacArthur and Grabovski continued to rack points up.
One thing the fans like about MacArthur is that he will go in for the hit, with 60 hits last season alone. He has also been known to throw the gloves off when the time calls for it.
MacArthur has become a valuable member of the Leafs and was sought after before the deadline last season, with rumors of a first round pick coming back to Toronto for the winger.
With all the debate as to who will centre the top line this coming season, it leaves a giant question mark for MacArthur.
Two of the believed front runners for the job are newly acquired James van Riemsdyk and Mikhail Grabovski. Either player obtaining the position could mean change for the second line winger.
Should Grabovski take the job, it would mean finding a home for either winger Joffrey Lupul or van Riemsdyk.
Lupul can play either wing, which could mean sending Kulemin down to the third line. More than likely, however, this will see MacArthur on the third line with Jay McClement and a number of possibilities for the right wing.
Nothing is definite however; van Riemsdyk may be the winger placed on the second line between Kulemin, and the Leafs may even go with Tim Connolly or Nazem Kadri.
Toronto could also see van Riemsdyk move to the second line centre position, leaving Kulemin and MacArthur in their current positions on the wings.
Where Would You Like to See MacArthur Next Season
One other option is that GM Brian Burke may be trying to work out a trade that involves the desirable winger.
Rumors that were circulating around the trade deadline said that teams were interested in trading a first round pick in exchange for Clarke MacArthur (from Darren Dreger on Twitter).
Having a player with high trade value is something Toronto desperately needs.
While being offered a first round pick for a player at the trade deadline may not signify that the player is truly worth that, it does indicate interest in MacArthur.
The possibilities are endless as Toronto has a number of players they need to find a place for, while they only have so many positions.
MacArthur may be one of those players that becomes a victim of circumstance and not talent. He has shown Leafs fans that he is a capable and talented player.
It would be nice to see Clarke MacArthur back this season on the second line, but there are no guarantees in hockey.
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