Toronto Maple Leafs: Should the Leafs Re-Sign Clarke MacArthur?

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIJune 17, 2013

MacArthur is set to hit free agency this July.
MacArthur is set to hit free agency this July.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The 2013 offseason will be a defining one for Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis.

Up to this point, Nonis hasn't really made any significant changes.

Dealing Matthew Lombardi and re-signing Colton Orr are really the only noticeable moves that Toronto's general manager has made over the course of his tenure.

Yet with four roster players set to hit unrestricted free agency in the next few weeks, and another six set for restricted free agency (I'm not including Leo Komarov as he's reportedly inked a deal with Moscow Dynamo of the KHL), Nonis has more than his fair share of important decisions ahead of him.

One of the bigger names hitting the free-agent market this summer for Toronto is Clarke MacArthur.

The 28-year-old MacArthur has spent the last three seasons with the Maple Leafs, scoring 20 goals in each of his first two years in Blue and White, and netting eight goals in 40 games in the shortened 2013 campaign.

MacArthur also netted two goals this postseason for the Buds, both of which came at fairly critical times.

But would signing him to a new deal be the right move for the Leafs?

As it stands, Toronto has a fairly deep and talented pool of wingers moving forward.

With Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk both signed until the end of the 2017-18 season, Phil Kessel sure to earn a new deal (and hefty raise) and Matt Frattin only being a restricted free agent after next season, one has to wonder where MacArthur fits in Toronto's lineup.

After having a decent amount of success the past few years, it wouldn't be surprising if MacArthur would only sign with a team willing to put him in their top-six.

This could be a problem for Toronto, who would probably prefer to have him play on the third line alongside Nikolai Kulemin, and let the younger Frattin take a crack at playing on Toronto's second line, presumably with Nazem Kadri.

Letting MacArthur walk on those grounds is shaky at best, though.

For starters, there is no guarantee that Matt Frattin will be able to stick on Toronto's second line.

Then there's the issue of Joffrey Lupul's health; it seems like at least once a year, Toronto loses one of its best forwards and emotional leader. Having a guy like MacArthur step into your top-six should something happen to Lupul (or any other top-six winger) would be a nice luxury.

As it stands, the ball is really in the court of Clarke MacArthur.

But considering how thin this summer's free-agent market is, I'd do my best to convince MacArthur to stick around if I were Dave Nonis.

He'll come a lot cheaper than a player like David Clarkson, and would be a solid third-line winger, capable of stepping into Toronto's top-six if necessary.

That's not to say the Leafs shouldn't pursue a player like David Clarkson, as he would be a great fit for this team.

MacArthur is simply great insurance to have moving forward.