In praise of Clarke MacArthur

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Clarke MacArthur is enjoying a solid campaign in Ottawa, sitting second on the team in goals (15) and third in points, with 33.

Considering where he was eight months ago, the feat is kind of impressive.

MacArthur, then playing for Toronto, was a healthy scratch in a pair of opening-round playoff games against Boston. That came on the heels of a regular season in which MacArthur scored just 20 points in 40 games while averaging less than 15 minutes a night, and had a strained relationship with Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle.

Allowed to walk in free agency, there was a certain unknown with MacArthur. While his advanced possession statistics were solid and production relatively consistent — he scored at least 15 goals in each of his first four seasons — MacArthur was also a guy that played for three different teams in six years and, this summer, was looking for a fourth.

That’s when the Sens came calling.

Signed to a modest two-year, $6.5 million deal, MacArthur has proven to be one of the best free agent bargains. He sits tied for 10th in the league in game-winning goals (four) and spends extensive time on both Ottawa’s penalty kill and power play (sitting second on the team in PP goals, with five.)

He also put forth a candidate for assist of the season in November, setting up linemate Kyle Turris with this beauty against Minnesota:

Sens head coach Paul MacLean has praised MacArthur’s play and professional approach throughout the year.

“We knew Clarke was a very consistent player, a 400-game player in the league, knows how to play, we knew he had some skill and was really a smart player,” MacLean said earlier this season, per the Ottawa Citizen. “We didn’t put a number on it and say this is what he’s supposed to do and this is what he’s going to be. But, since he has been here, he has been very consistent day in and day out. His practice, his work ethic is something we like.

“He has been a really good signing for our group.”