The Ottawa Senators inked forward Clarke MacArthur to a contract extension on Thursday, locking him up for five more years and $23.25 million. He’s a top-six forward for the Sens, so he was clearly a priority. However, they’ll need much more than him if they plan to compete in the Eastern Conference.
What Does MacArthur Bring To The Team?
Before joining Ottawa, MacArthur was known more as a blue collar plugger. He did have one standout season with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he reached 63 points but other than that, he had been hovering in the 25-30 point range. However, the Sens seemingly found a way to push the right buttons as MacArthur was a key cog on the team. He registered a career-high 24 goals and topped out at 53 points. Remember, the Sens have lost Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson over the last couple of seasons, so keep MacArthur was a priority.
Beyond numbers, MacArthur is a character guy, a quality defensive player and he brings some grit. He registered 78 penalty minutes last season and a career-best +12 rating.
Where Does This Leave The Sens Offense?
When you start looking at the Sens lineup with Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Milan Michalek and David Legwand and MacArthur, they have a decent rotation but nothing overwhelming. Ryan doesn’t look like he’s elite anymore (he only had 48 points last season) and while Turris and MacArthur have found their stroke in Ottawa, neither are stars either. On top of that, Michalek is fresh off an awful season where he total just 39 points in 82 games. The Sens still managed to finish ninth in the NHL in scoring with 236 goals but they should have been much worse. With Spezza gone, they probably will be.
If the Sens had an elite defense and an above average goaltender, they could probably overcome their offensive deficiencies. As it is now, it’ll be tough for them to be a serious power player in the Eastern Conference.
How To Bet The News
The offense in Ottawa has deteriorated over the years and bettors should expect a drop-off in 2014-15. They should be in the bottom half of scoring – if not bottom 10. But the main issue in Ottawa is goals allowed – not goals scored. In 2012-13, they finished with the second-fewest goals allowed in the NHL. Last season, they allowed the fourth-most. Veteran goaltender Craig Anderson hit the wall with a 3.00 GAA and a .911 save percentage. As for Robin Lehner, who was supposed to takeover and be the goaltender of the future, he posted a GAA of 3.06 and a save percentage of .913.
The Sens need to get back to their defensive ways as in 2012-13 because they no longer have the offense to outscore foes – especially the better ones come playoff time. But overall, this looks like a team in decline. We don’t know if they’ll get quality goaltending and their offense should taper off. Play the under for their regular season points, don’t take them at 8/1 NHL odds to win the Atlantic Division and definitely don’t take them at 45/1 to win the Stanley Cup