One of the best free agent pickups of the summer of 2013 wasted little time in signing a contract extension with the Ottawa Senators that will keep him in Sens gear for the foreseeable future. Winger Clarke MacArthur put his name on a 5 year contract worth a total of $23.25M. It will not kick in until the beginning of the 2015-16 season, as he still has a year remaining on the contract he signed last summer.
After trading away captain and leading scorer among forwards Jason Spezza, this signing was important for the Senators in order to maintain a competitive roster and avoid a treacherous slide. With Bobby Ryan and Marc Methot, and to a lesser extent, Craig Anderson, all in the same boat entering the final year of their current contracts, hopefully GM Bryan Murray and his staff can solidify the club’s roster going forward by getting their names on extensions as well.
MacArthur is a streaky scorer, who should regularly be in around 25 goals, will be counted on to contribute on the Senators top line alongside newly minted #1 centre Kyle Turris and will be asked to shoulder a huge load offensively while the rest of a youthful roster finds its way and young players find their roles.
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According to TSN, MacArthur will get a raise to$4.5M per season in the first 2 years of the deal (he will be a bargain at $3.25 this coming year) followed by another bump to $4.75M in the final 3 years of the deal. It is the longest and most lucrative deal of his career, after signing two year deals the last two times around.
The signing also shows the Senators (perhaps begrudginly) willingness to open the wallet to keep key players in the fold, although don’t expect them to be a cap team any time soon.