Which is more likely...
Clarke MacArthur signs a multi-year extension during the season or that Bobby Ryan does?
Last season, MacArthur had one of the best seasons in his career finishing with 24 goals and 31 assists and impressed Senators fans. He was also second best on the team in terms of plus/minus with a +12, which was no easy feat on a team that was so defensively distraught.
Currently, MacArthur is starting the second year of a two-year contract worth $6.5M with an AAV of $3.25M. That's an incredible deal for an all-around good player who can put up solid point totals and play well defensively. To give you some perspective on how good his contract really is, Zach Parise had similar point totals last year and made $12M in salary. Ryan Kesler had fewer points than MacArthur and made $5M. MacArthur had a tough year in Toronto the year before, which presumably is the reason why he signed such a friendly contract. Luckily for the Senators, Clarke had a bounce-back year and made Murray look like a genius.
The trouble is that if MacArthur plays as well again this season, he's definitely due for a pay increase and longer term. My guess is he'll be looking for something like four years at $4-5M per year, if not more. That puts him in the same pay bracket as players who produce similar to him like Andrew Ladd or Ales Hemsky. Essentially, he's up for a promotion. This leaves me wondering two things. First, are the frugal Senators willing to give MacArthur a bigger paycheck? Second, does MacArthur want to play here since he's 29 and will likely want to win a Cup soon?
Clarke MacArthur, unfortunately, isn't the only one whose contract is set to expire at the end of this season. Bobby Ryan's contract that he signed with the Anaheim Ducks (5 years, $25.5M) is also running out. Last season, Ryan didn't have quite the year that was expected. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it wasn't quite at what was projected of him. We learned later in the season, however, that he was hurt with a sports hernia. This year he will be looking to rebound and I think the Senators and their fans are all hoping that Bobby can score 30+ goals again this season. If he does, that will make him a five-time 30+ goal scorer, meaning that he'll be looking for a big contract. He's younger than MacArthur at 27, so he will probably be looking for more term and more money.
There have been a lot of rumblings around the city that Bobby might not re-sign here given that he hasn't yet, despite the fact that it's been three weeks since he was eligible to be re-signed. While that may be entirely likely, our GM is also taking some time away right now and the Senators are working on signing Robin Lehner, who is an RFA right now. He has also said things to the local media like, "We love it here, more importantly. It's been a great change for us. When the time comes, if that's what Bryan wants to go with, to sit down and have conversations, we'll certainly do that." Hopefully he actually feels that way and isn't just saying what we want to hear.
One issue, as usual, is whether they can afford to keep Ryan. If they do re-sign him, where does that leave MacArthur in terms of the penny-saving Sens? I think ultimately that they'd like to keep both, but it will come down to whether the Sens will open their wallet up and whether these two players want to remain Senators. I also believe that Bobby Ryan is their biggest priority; they gave up a lot just to get him and I can't see them throwing that all away.
So which do you think is more likely? Remember to vote in the poll and let us know who you chose and why!