NHL: Clarke MacArthur Says Goodbye to the Atlanta Thrashers

Warren ShawCorrespondent IIJuly 22, 2010

ATLANTA - APRIL 10:  Bill Guerin #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates away as Bryan Little #10 of the Atlanta Thrashers celebrates his goal with Slava Kozlov #13 and Clarke MacArthur #41 at Philips Arena on April 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

USA Today reported that the Atlanta Thrashers walked away from a $2.4 million salary arbitration award to forward Clarke MacArthur on Wednesday, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The team acquired him from the Buffalo Sabres in March.

MacArthur made $1.4 million last season when he scored 16 goals and had a career-best 35 points between the two teams. He also had a minus-16 rating, which was one of the worst on the squad.

General manager Rick Dudley has made it clear on numerous occasions since taking over the job that he will offer fair value contracts for roster spots. Thus far, defenseman Pavel Kubina, forward Colby Armstrong, and now Clarke MacArthur have severed ties with the Thrashers due to contract differences.  Kubina signed with Tampa Bay and Armstrong with Toronto.

A speedy forward with some potential, MacArthur was expendable based on the Thrashers' substantial number of equally talented forwards looking for opportunities to crack the lineup.

During the Thrashers Prospect Camp held at the Ice Forum in Duluth, Georgia, Dudley, along with Coach Craig Ramsay and associate coach John Torchetti, got a chance to evaluate several prospects for a spot on the roster.

Dudley, who is well known for having a keen eye for talent, made the decision to release MacArthur knowing he had players available with the requisite skills needed making MacArthur expendable.

The Thrashers will have to make decisions on first-round draft choice Alex Burmistrov, Akim Aliu, Carl Klingberg, Patrice Cormier, and maybe Jordan Samuels. With the additions of Dustin Byfuglien, Ladd, and Eager, to a roster that includes Niclas Bergfor, Nik Antropov, Todd White, Evander Kane,  Rich Peverley, and Jim Slater, the Thrashers already look like a much different hockey team.

The Thrashers have arbitration hearings pending for forwards Andrew Ladd (July 29) and Ben Eager (Aug. 3). Both were also acquired in the Chicago Blackhawks trade for Dustin Byfuglien.