Trading Spaces: rampant speculation about Leafs trades needs new focal point. Paging Clarke MacArthur

Trading Spaces: rampant speculation about Leafs trades needs new focal point. Paging Clarke MacArthur

Clarke MacArthur (Image: Bridget Samuels)  

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke insists he still has a few tricks up his sleeve in the lead-up to the National Hockey League trade deadline on February 28. Right now, the talk is all about adding another blueliner, perhaps even in time for the squad’s tilt with the New York Islanders tonight at the Air Canada Centre. But with stalwart defencemen François Beauchemin and Tomas Kaberle already departed, the rampant speculation over who will be the next Leaf to go needs a new focal point. Clarke MacArthur, welcome to the party.

The Toronto Star has the details on MacArthur:

[Burke] said that he would meet with MacArthur’s agent, Don Meehan, this week in an attempt to put a price on what the winger—who is having a breakout season—would deserve in a new contract.

In what sounded like an ultimatum, Burke said that if a deal can’t be worked out, he will look at trading the 25-year-old, who tops the team with 45 points.

“I know he’s said he’d like to stay. I think he’d be crazy not to, playing in a city like this with linemates (Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin) like that. But we haven’t put amounts on it. That’s going to happen this week…If he doesn’t agree to something that makes sense, we’re going to listen (to offers),” said Burke.

MacArthur is set to become a restricted free agent this summer after earning just over one million big ones this season. He’s young, in a contract year and could provide second-line scoring for a team looking to make a run deep into the post-season—all alluring qualities to a GM running up to a trade deadline. There’s little question that MacArthur will somehow be a part of Burke’s impending youth movement. What remains to be seen is whether he’ll be the bait or the fish.

• Maple Leafs on the hunt for blueline help [Toronto Star]
Brian Burke keeps finger on trigger [Globe and Mail]
• Burke in for another busy week with Leafs [National Post]
• More Leafs moves to come [Toronto Sun]