As a devoted Leaf fan since I was born, the last few futile years have been really rough on us Leaf fans, I’ve hated Toronto GM’s for years of overspending, from trades to offseason acquisitions. Now with the salary cap, the way money has been spent has been under a fine microscope.
Since Brian Burke’s been GM, I haven’t appreciated practically any of his moves and offseason acquisitions until August 28, 2010. I had just arrived a few days from a well-rested vacation. The time away from hockey helped relax my mind, though I kept my ear in the air listening to the Kovalchuk scenario and what might have happened with Tomas Kaberle even though I was half way around the world.
While the Maple Leafs have been floundering over the past five years, I’ve spent time trying to enjoy hockey from all around the league, I’ve most recently watched plenty of Atlanta Thrasher hockey, since my favourite Leaf is now a Thrasher (Nik Antropov). I enjoyed watching the energy and youth of this Thrasher team this past season. A player who struck me as one who had potential and could do almost everything his coach asked him to do was Clarke MacArthur.
Even playing for the Buffalo Sabres for his first three NHL seasons, he brought a strong work ethic, a bundle of energy, strong two-way play and a nose for the open areas.
MacArthur was drafted in the third round, 74th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres, he actually started his professional career playing two and a half seasons for the Sabres AHL affiliate in Rochester, the Americans. Before being drafted the Lloydminster, the Alberta native played on the Medicine Hat Tigers, where he received honours on the Memorial Cup All-star team and the following year on the WHL All-star team. He also then helped Canada win the 2005 World Junior Championships.
This summer he was awarded in arbitration $2.4 million, which the Atlanta Thrashers had passed on. Finally there was an opportunity for Brian Burke to make a steal, and he did when he then signed MacArthur to a one-year contract for $1.1 million on August 28.
Now with Toronto, finally CMac is getting a strong chance to play in a top six role, and he’s using it to his advantage. I look forward to Clarke playing his all around style all season; for what he has shown so far is only a preview of what is to come.
Note : Since writing this, he has now played three games (GP 3 – 4G – 1A – 5P – 2P/M)