OTTAWA – Given the tumultuous off season in Ottawa, forward Clarke MacArthur has flown under the radar since signing with the Senators as a free agent this past summer.
MacArthur, who spent the last three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is expected to add some veteran experience and scoring to a second line that finds itself without the skill and leadership of Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson left the Senators to sign with the Detroit Red Wings, leaving a gaping hole to be filled. MacArthur, who signed a two-year deal worth US$6.5 million, says has no intention of attempting to replace Alfredsson. He is just hoping to find some chemistry with Kyle Turris and a yet to be determined right-winger and add some offence.
The Senators said they believed MacArthur had the potential to score 15 to 20 goals for them when they made the signing.
While he’s not one to make bold predictions, MacArthur admitted he would love nothing more than to find the offensive touch that allowed him to post back-to-back 20 goal seasons.
“The first two years in Toronto I had 20 goals and I want to get back to that kind of hockey,” he said. “Getting an opportunity to play with (Turris) is great. He seems like a real solid two-way player and I’m excited to have an opportunity there.”
A former third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, MacArthur has 93 goals and 213 points in 403 NHL games.
Over the course of the past three NHL seasons MacArthur has actually posted better numbers than Alfredsson, but it would be unfair to make any comparisons to the beloved former Ottawa captain.
MacArthur just wants to be the best he can be. Strangely enough, MacArthur now occupies Alfredsson’s stall in the locker-room.
“I’m not a guy that you’re going to see dominate night in and night out,” said MacArthur. “I like to get things done and be good defensively and I feel I can make offensive plays, but consistency is something everyone fights and this year I want to strive to be better with that.”
MacArthur got off to a strong start picking up a goal in the Senators 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in his first pre-season game with Ottawa.
Turris and MacArthur have been working hard at developing chemistry and so far feel like they compliment one another.
“The majority of it is just logging time together on the ice and getting a feel for each other,” said Turris. “We’re definitely starting to build that chemistry. He’s a great player. He’s got good speed, got a good shot and the best part is he reads the ice, he sees everything develop and that’s something I love working with.”
With most of the pressure expected to be on Ottawa’s top line, Turris says he and MacArthur have an opportunity to add some secondary scoring.
“They’re going to have lots of pressure on them and they obviously will be one of the best in the league,” said Turris. “We want to ease a little bit off of them. We want to be scoring and be contributing as well.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean has been happy with what he’s seen so far and MacArthur is likely to be given every opportunity to succeed.
“Right now we’re going to take our time with any projections as to what he’s going to be,” said MacLean. “He’s as advertised, he’s a 400-game player, and to me he’s been very good, very professional.”
Choosing Ottawa was an interesting choice for MacArthur considering the rivalry between the Senators and the Leafs. Strangely enough MacArthur agreed to the deal while in Prince Edward Island to attend Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf’s wedding. It goes without saying that his former teammates had some fun at MacArthur’s expense.
The 28-year-old will get his first chance to play against some of his former teammates Tuesday night in an exhibition game in Toronto, but the real test will come Oct. 5 when they play the first of four regular season games against one another.
“It’s one of those things where I have a lot of friends on that side, but when it comes to playing the game both sides have to play hard against each other,” said MacArthur. “That’s just the nature of the game. It’s going to be a lot of fun to go up against those guys.”
Notes: G Robin Lehner will get the start in Toronto Tuesday. G Craig Anderson and LW Milan Michalek were both given a maintenance day and not expected to miss any extended amount of time.