Author: Joe Yerdon

Clarke MacArthur

Senators sign MacArthur to five-year, $23.25 million extension


Clarke MacArthur left a big impression on the Ottawa Senators in his first season with them and the team is rewarding him handsomely.

The Senators announced they’ve signed the 29-year-old forward to a five-year extension worth $23.25 million. That comes out to a cap hit of $4.65 million per year.

MacArthur joined the Senators last season after spending the three previous campaigns with the Toronto Maple Leafs and turned in a solid offensive year with 24 goals and 55 points. His goal total was second on the team behind Kyle Turris’ 26. Points-wise he was fourth on the Sens, and now with Jason Spezza off to Dallas, they’ll need him to step his game up a bit to make up for the loss. At least they’ve still got Turris and that Erik Karlsson guy to spearhead the attack.

MacArthur settling into Ottawa will be something a bit new for him after blazing a trail from the Buffalo Sabres to the Atlanta Thrashers and ultimately the Maple Leafs before landing in Ottawa.

Depending on what happens with Bobby Ryan, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, MacArthur could have the highest cap hit amongst forwards on the roster next season.

Numbers game: Leafs hire assistant to GM, analytics team

Brendan Shanahan; Tim Leiweke; Dave Nonis

Fans in Toronto have been waiting for Brendan Shanahan to leave his footprint on the team since taking over as the president of hockey operations. Today may have been what they’ve been waiting for.

The Leafs announced they’ve hired Brandon Pridham as assistant to GM Dave Nonis. According to the team, Pridham will assist in salary cap analysis, contract negotiations and collective bargaining agreement interpretation for the team.

Being the team’s capologist means Pridham will never have a boring day at work in the Big Smoke and, as James Mirtle of The Globe And Mail shares, his reputation around the league is good one and he helped create the NHL’s salary cap system following the 2004-05 lockout.

The Leafs weren’t done there though.

According to Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy, the Leafs have hired a full analytics department highlighted by Darryl Metcalf (whom you may know best for his work at Extra Skater) as well as former Yahoo! writers Cam Charron and Rob Pettapiece.

All are well known for their work in statistics work, especially Metcalf whose website,, had become a popular visit for those interested in that side of analyzing hockey. Those hires along with the addition of Kyle Dubas as assistant GM have made the Leafs suddenly into one of the most modern-thinking teams in the league.

Looking to make the leap: Mathew Dumba

Matthew Dumba

If you’ve paid attention to the Minnesota Wild at all the past couple of seasons, chances are you’ve already heard about defenseman Mathew Dumba.

Dumba was the Wild’s first-round pick in 2012, seventh overall, out of Red Deer and was selected in hopes of becoming an eventual stud on a Minnesota blue line that desperately needed one. Now two years later, the Wild have Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin leading the way, and Dumba has gotten a taste of what the NHL is like after playing 13 games last season before being sent back to juniors.

Now that he’s grown up, his time in junior hockey is at an end. In 26 games with the Portland Winterhawks last season, he had 24 points. He added another 18 points in 21 playoff games and showed that not only was his defensive game strong, but his ability to generate offense was as well.

That kind of development is what the Wild are hoping will turn him into a regular on the Minnesota blue line right away. Outside of Suter and Brodin, the rest of the defense leaves the door open for Dumba to jump in.

Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, and Keith Ballard make up what will likely be part of the next three spots. That leaves Dumba, Jonathon Blum, Stu Bickel and rookie Christian Folin to compete for the other starting spot, as well as the reserves.

As it is, Ballard and Blum bounced in and out of the lineup last season with Blum going between the AHL and NHL regularly. Bickel spent all of last season in the AHL and Folin is fresh out of UMass-Lowell in Hockey East.

If nothing else, the opportunity is there for Dumba to seize the day and make the team right out of training camp. At 20 years old, it may be daunting for the Wild to add another young guy to the blue line, but if his skills are up to it and his development won’t suffer – it may be his time to shine.

Former Lightning forward Malone ‘shocked’ he had cocaine

Ryan Malone

Former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone has been having a hard time of late. He was bought out of his contract by the team in late June and in April he was arrested for DUI and cocaine possession.

As it turns out, the cocaine part of the story was a surprise to him at the time.

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports Malone was unaware he had cocaine on him when he was pulled over by police.

“I asked where it came from,” officer Andrew Visser wrote in his report. “And he said he was just shocked.”

Malone plead not-guilty to the charges, but according to court documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times he had 1.3 grams of cocaine in his possession. He also initially refused a field sobriety test but had a blood-alcohol level of 0.112 and 0.116 when he was booked. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08.

Malone is currently a free agent and may not be likely to land with a new team until his legal issues are sorted out.

It’s Minnesota Wild Day at PHT

Ryan Suter, Zach Parise

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Minnesota Wild.

Ever since the Minnesota Wild locked up Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million deals things have slowly improved only to see their fate end the same way in the playoffs.

Two seasons ago, they stole their way in as the seventh seed in the West and got the bum’s rush out in the first round in five games by the Chicago Blackhawks. Last season, things got a bit better as they vanquished the Colorado Avalanche in seven games in the first round to earn a rematch with the Blackhawks. Things improved slightly as they bowed out in six games.

It’s that steady improvement in the face of difficult situations that gives fans in Minnesota hope for even more improvement.

The Wild saw injuries befall just about everyone they put in goal. Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding started the year as the tandem and while Backstrom dealt with nagging injuries, Harding was brilliant. That stellar play was submarined by his struggles with his medication while playing with Multiple Sclerosis.

By the time the playoffs rolled around, it was Ilya Bryzgalov and Darcy Kuemper holding down the fort with Bryzgalov standing tall while helping beat the Avs. If you predicted that would happen before the season, let’s hope you’re sitting on the beach relaxing as a new millionaire.

If there’s truly a reason for Wild fans to be excited about the years to come, it’s thanks to the emergence of a few key young forwards. Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, and Nino Niederreiter all had solid regular season play followed by flashes of brilliance in the postseason. Adding them to the mix with Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Pominville helps give the Wild a very gifted set of forwards.

Things weren’t so bad on the blue line either. Suter logged an incredible number of minutes and former Calder Trophy finalist Jonas Brodin had a solid season, although seemingly not as strong as his rookie campaign. Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella stepped up their play to help give their blue line a boost. They’ll need to be that much better next season as the Central Division and Western Conference figures to be brutally difficult once again.

Offseason recap

Minnesota’s summer was virtually too easy to predict. After lots of rumors and speculation, Thomas Vanek inked a three-year, $19.5 million deal to go back to his American home. After playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota and always having a home in the state, it seemed inevitable he’d go back as a free agent. Even after a less-than impressive turn in the playoffs with the Montreal Canadiens didn’t scare the Wild away and they may be able to get a steal of sorts because of it.

With Vanek in the fold, they parted ways with Dany Heatley whose contract expired. He and defenseman Clayton Stoner both landed in Anaheim while they brought back Justin Falk who had been with the New York Rangers.

They also added former Vancouver Canucks forward, and Golden Gophers standout, Jordan Schroeder. There’s never not a homecoming of some sorts in the State of Hockey, but it’s Vanek who comes away as the prize.