Clarke MacArthur: Best And Worst Case Scenarios Next Year


This is another edition of “best and worst case scenarios” for the Ottawa Senators, and this time I wanted to focus on left-winger Clarke MacArthur. Before I have talked about Mika Zibanejad, Craig Anderson, Cody Ceci, and Mark Stone. MacArthur turned 30 years old in April, and although he isn’t considered an old player, he is by Ottawa’s standards.

Let’s look at how his season could go.

Best Case:

Although MacArthur was drafted in 2003 by the Buffalo Sabres, he never really made noise in the NHL until he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2010-11. He had a few fine seasons before that in Buffalo and Atlanta, but it was with the Leafs that he elevated his game to a top-six forward. Ever since then, he has had very solid production.

Here are his career stats to date, which shows him as a player that averages 46 points per season.

However, in the past five seasons that number is actually at 53. If he got that average amount of points last year, he would have ended up 71st amongst forwards in points which is comfortably in “first liner” territory.

I’m very bullish on MacArthur, despite just putting up 36 games in 62 games last year. Over the course of an 82-game schedule that comes out to 48 points, which is actually top-six production. Considering last year was a “down-year,” I’d love to see him bounce back next year and be even better like he was in 2013-14.

So if he can return to his form from two seasons ago, then Ottawa is looking at a first line player. All signs point to him being a quality player:

His offensive production is very solid, and with more ice time he should theoretically be able to score even more. So if he really is a first or second line player, then what can we reasonably expect from him?

We have to consider that his career high in points is 62, which he achieved in 2010-11. I don’t think he’ll be able to reach that many anymore, but he could easily get into the 50’s. Last year he had the highest amount of shots per game in his career, with 2.26. His shooting percentage also dropped a bit from his career average of 13.8% to 11.4%. So if he can keep his solid shot rates up, we can reasonably expect a few more goals.

It’s not fair to expect the 24 that he got in 2013-14, but I think 20-22 is realistic. 2013-14 was such a great season for him, but I just can’t see him quite matching it again. So I think that he can get close to his totals, but his best case scenario is about 52-55 points. That would be amazing production, and the Senators should be thrilled if he reaches those heights again.

Having said that, he should be valuable no matter what.

Worst Case:

It’s hard writing a worst case for him, mostly because I don’t think he will be a bad player next year. There were points where he was looking like a player on the decline, but near the end of the season he picked it up. He has been a great possession player over the course of his career, so he will have at least some impact even if he only puts up 20-30 points.

Apr 17, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Clarke MacArthur (16) reacts after scoring a goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the first period in game two of the first round of the the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There are a couple of things that could point to him having a worse season though. It’s not like he’s that old, but players over the age of 30 do see their production drop. Also if other players on the Senators pick up their game, he may be demoted to a lesser role. I’m thinking of players like Shane Prince, Curtis Lazar, and Matt Puempel.

I don’t think it’s that likely, but it’s a possibility that he gets outplayed by at least one of those players. After all, fans were getting quite upset with him during parts of the season when he couldn’t buy a goal. He has had poor seasons before, and it’s not like it will be unpredictable if he takes another step back.

In the lockout year before he signed with Ottawa, he had just 20 points in 40 games with Toronto, which of course would be a 41 point season in a normal length schedule. That isn’t terrible production, but there’s a chance he slips down to that once again.

They don’t need him to be a star, they just need him to be a good secondary option

Since he became a regular his career low in goals is 16, so I would say that 16 is a worst case scenario. And as odd as it sounds, I think the lowest amount of assists he may get is 20. Those two totals are exactly what he got last year, but remember that he played in only 62 games. So if he score 16 goals and 20 assists in a full season, that would be a worst case scenario.

36 points isn’t even that bad, although for his cap hit of $4,650,000 it would be below average. He’ll still provide some value for the team with his solid well-rounded play and influence on possession, but I could definitely see him getting between 35-40 points.


Like I said, I like MacArthur a lot and I think he’ll bounce back even though last season wasn’t even that bad. I would expect between 45-50 points, which would be great for the Senators. They don’t need him to be a star, they just need him to be a good secondary option.

He should be closer to the better case scenario next year and I am quite excited to see how he plays.

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