Trade Bait: Clarke MacArthur

The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3. Following is a player that may be moved. For more “Trade Bait,” click here.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a difficult position. Clarke MacArthur is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could command a solid price in a market where teams have plenty of cap space, but there are few genuine sellers.

His production has slipped since his career-high of 62 points in 2010-11. However, he’s still a solid secondary scorer with seven goals and 17 points and slots in nicely as second or third line winger.

It’s not that simple though. You aren’t going to find many people that think the Maple Leafs are a genuine Stanley Cup contender, but they are still in a good position to at least make teh playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

The city desperately wants to see a sign that the Maple Leafs’ rebuilding effort might have finally propelled the team to the next level. Trading away MacArthur now and hurting that playoff run would be a bold and likely unpopular move by new Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis.

For his part, Nonis recently downplayed the fact that MacArthur might be lost for nothing if he doesn’t act soon.

“I’ve never had a problem with a player who was going to be a UFA staying with the team after the trade deadline and then working something out at a later date,” Nonis said.

He also stated that MacArthur was unlikely to get an extension before the trade deadline.

The team already has $44,804,167 committed to 12 players, according to Cap Geek. Even still, they need to re-sign restricted free agents Carl Gunnarsson, Cody Franson, and Nazem Kadri this summer and then Jake Gardiner, James Reimer, Ben Scrivens, and Phil kessel in the summer of 2014. If Toronto intends to most of them, then that will account for a sizable portion of their cap going forward.

Those considerations might end up spelling the end of MacArthur’s tenure with the Maple Leafs, if not in the coming weeks, then perhaps this summer.

Video: Trisha Yearwood sings national anthem for Preds-Ducks

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Keith Urban sang the national anthem for Game 3. Kelly Clarkson did the honors for the Nashville Predators before Game 4. Next up: Trisha Yearwood for Game 6.

The Predators hope to close out the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, and they got off to a nice start with Austin Watson scoring a quick 1-0 goal. Not long after, the Predators added another to build to a 2-0 lead.

Garth Brooks spoiled Yearwood’s appearance a bit before the contest.

Brooks also revealed Yearwood’s early fan creds:

Nick Ritchie ejected after boarding, bloodying Viktor Arvidsson (Video)

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Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie scored a goal in Game 4, but he won’t be able to provide such a scoring boost for his team in Game 6.

That’s because he was ejected during the first period after hitting rising Nashville Predators star Viktor Arvidsson from behind, bloodying the slick Swede.

Ritchie was whistled for a game misconduct and major. Remarkably, the Ducks killed the entire five-minute power-play opportunity, with Ryan Kesler‘s shorthanded chance being one of the better opportunities for either team.

It’s still a big blunder, but if the Ducks can get back in it, remember that big kill.

Video of the hit is coming soon. For now, check out the GIF:

Oddly, Arvidsson left the ice with a wound that more or less spelled out “R,” presumably for Ritchie, maybe celebrating the return of “Twin Peaks.”

(Such an obvious move might not be surreal enough for David Lynch, though. Alex Prewitt’s Zorro reference might be more, um, on the mark.)

Video: Predators storm off to 2-0 lead, beguile Bernier early on

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It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.

First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.

Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.

There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?

No Mike Fisher or Craig Smith for Predators in Game 6

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The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.

Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.

The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.

Click here for the official roster report.

Game 5 is airing on NBCSN right now. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

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