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Trade Bait: Clarke MacArthur

Mar 26, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

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The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3. Following is a player that may be moved. For more “Trade Bait,” click here.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a difficult position. Clarke MacArthur is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could command a solid price in a market where teams have plenty of cap space, but there are few genuine sellers.

His production has slipped since his career-high of 62 points in 2010-11. However, he’s still a solid secondary scorer with seven goals and 17 points and slots in nicely as second or third line winger.

It’s not that simple though. You aren’t going to find many people that think the Maple Leafs are a genuine Stanley Cup contender, but they are still in a good position to at least make teh playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

The city desperately wants to see a sign that the Maple Leafs’ rebuilding effort might have finally propelled the team to the next level. Trading away MacArthur now and hurting that playoff run would be a bold and likely unpopular move by new Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis.

For his part, Nonis recently downplayed the fact that MacArthur might be lost for nothing if he doesn’t act soon.

“I’ve never had a problem with a player who was going to be a UFA staying with the team after the trade deadline and then working something out at a later date,” Nonis said.

He also stated that MacArthur was unlikely to get an extension before the trade deadline.

The team already has $44,804,167 committed to 12 players, according to Cap Geek. Even still, they need to re-sign restricted free agents Carl Gunnarsson, Cody Franson, and Nazem Kadri this summer and then Jake Gardiner, James Reimer, Ben Scrivens, and Phil kessel in the summer of 2014. If Toronto intends to most of them, then that will account for a sizable portion of their cap going forward.

Those considerations might end up spelling the end of MacArthur’s tenure with the Maple Leafs, if not in the coming weeks, then perhaps this summer.

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