Mikhail Grabovski; Nikolai Kulemin; Clarke MacArthur

Sigh of relief: Leafs, Clarke MacArthur avoid arbitration with two-year, $6.5M compromise

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There is such thing as “too good” of a deal in the free agent process.

Sometimes that much is only clear later in the life of a contract, as we’ve seen from demotions for players who couldn’t live up to their salary cap hits (such as Michael Nylander and Wade Redden). Such a feeling isn’t exclusive to unrestricted free agents, though; restricted free agents occasionally opt for salary arbitration only to find their teams unwilling to accept the verdict.

That’s what happened to star-crossed winger Clarke MacArthur when the Atlanta Thrashers walked away from his suggested $2.4 million arbitration last year, forcing the unlucky forward to search for a new home very late in the free agent game of musical chairs. He eventually settled for a drastically reduced one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs and went on to post career highs in goals (21), assists (41) and points (62).

There were some concerns that MacArthur would be headed for salary arbitration once again, especially since Leafs GM Brian Burke hinted that the winger was asking for too much money. The two sides can breathe easy after today, though, as they avoided the sometimes-awkward arbitration process by hashing out a two-year, $6.5 million deal.

That works out to a $3.25 million per year salary cap hit, a significant raise from that previous $1.1 million mark and an $850K raise from the amount that was too rich for the Thrashers. We’ll have to wait and see if MacArthur’s 2010-11 production was the result of a contract year anomaly or if he can replicate the unexpectedly nice work he produced with linemates Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin in that campaign.

It might be a bit pricey for a player with a limited sample size of success, but at least Toronto’s risk is short-term compared to, say, the four-year gambles that the Florida Panthers sent out to less productive players. Overall, it’s an acceptable deal that ranks as a slight overpayment, although it would be a nice price if he can approach the 60-point mark in each of the next two seasons.

Video: P.K. Subban tossed after on-ice outburst toward officials

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P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.

Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.

Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.

The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.

 

Video: Doan ties Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history

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Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.

Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.

Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.

He also joined another impressive list, too.

Leafs’ Corrado returns to Vancouver with a chip on his shoulder

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Just as the Vancouver Canucks are once again struggling through injuries and with their depth on defense a constant question mark, Frank Corrado returns to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s a quick visit. The Leafs and Canucks do battle on Saturday, with the hosts wearing their famous ‘Flying Skate’ logo from the 1990s.

But the return of Corrado with a different team provides a juicy storyline in Vancouver.

The Canucks waived the 22-year-old defenseman in October.

He was claimed by the Leafs, which ended his time in Vancouver when it previously started with promise and optimism.

He quickly ascended as a prospect after being selected in the fifth round five years ago. But when training camp rolled around this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning was of the belief that Corrado had been passed in the depth chart by a few other defensemen in the system.

The move has been criticized in Vancouver because the Canucks lost an asset — a 22-year-old right-shooting defenseman with potential — for nothing.

Corrado had some interesting things to say about how his time in Vancouver eventually played out, as per Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press.

Two examples:

Corrado has played 10 games for the Leafs this season, with three assists. He made his Leafs debut more than two months after being claimed.

Video: Gaborik (lower-body) not expected to return after awkward collision

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The L.A. Kings are expected to be without forward Marian Gaborik for the remainder of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.

Gaborik was involved in a collision with Dominic Moore at the Kings’ blue line late in the first period, and L.A. up 2-1.

Gaborik, 33, hobbled off the ice, favoring his left leg. In 53 games this season, Gaborik has 11 goals and 21 points.