Double Jumps and Arbitration

by Ryan

It’s easy to kill Darcy Regier.

If Darcy were in a video game, he would be a Goomba. Just jump and look out below and you’re all set. There is so much we don’t know about his job that it’s easy to assume the worst. We see him at Development Camp and wonder why he’s not on the phone calling “someone” to trade “something.” You see him walking up the stairs carrying a package from and you wonder why he’s surfing the web and flagging down UPS trucks instead of talking to a player’s agent.

Or maybe that’s just me, but you get the point. It seems fans around here feel that it’s almost necessary to hate your general manager, but recently I’ve gone sour on that notion. Dare I say, I’ve liked what Darcy Regier has been doing lately. Well, at least I haven’t found much to complain about over the last few weeks. I’m okay with Tallinder and Lydman signing elsewhere, I like the Leopold and Niedermayer deals and I assume something else is coming. I’m willing to be patient, and I trust what happens with the prospects.

The other part of the free agency period people often forget is restricted free agency arbitration, which continues this week. Kaleta’s team-elected arbitration is already taken care of, and Tim Kennedy will see something happen this week as well. Hopefully it’s before Tuesday, but if you ask me the most interesting arbitration of the summer has been former Sabre Clarke MacArthur, who got $2.4 million on Thursday.

No, no, I’ll wait.

What gets me about the ruling is this: Clarke scored nine points that we didn’t see. He didn’t exactly go on a tear in his 21 games with Atlanta, so the bulk of that $2.4 million was earned in Buffalo. You watched Clarke play 60 games last year, was that worth over $2 million?

No, no it wasn’t. I have no idea how he got that number, but he must have a hell of an agent. No team in their right mind is going to give him that kind of scratch, and Atlanta was right in walking away from the deal. If a team like Atlanta, who are currently hovering below the cap floor, doesn’t want want Clarke, who does? The Sabres would have absolutely done the same thing, especially since Clarke might have gotten even better numbers if he finished his season on the playoff-bound Sabres.

But he didn’t, did he? He got moved at the deadline with little complaint, the Sabres getting a third and fourth round draft pick out of Atlanta for it. The Sabres turned that into Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (68th overall) and Steven Shipley (98th overall) and it looks like neither team is getting the services of Clarke MacArthur next season. Gauthier-Leduc is a kid who already turned a few heads at Development Camp, and the Sabres are pretty high on him already.

Now… good move, right? Darcy sold high on a player for the second time that season, shipping out Dan Paille early in the year and now Clarke at the deadline. He even managed to get something back for Nathan Paetsch, something few people thought he would be able to do. Chris and I had a good conversation about Paille in our last podcast, and he seems to be a big higher on Paille than I am. Still, I think it’s safe to say Darcy had himself a good year when it comes to turning middle of the road players into assets the team can use down the road.

Regier was far from perfect, and the obvious gaffe this season was Raffi Torres. That’s two consecutive seasons where the major deadline acquisition was a complete letdown, and the third playoff season in a row where that rent-a-player gave very little in the postseason. However, I have to think Darcy comes out of MacArthur’s arbitration looking pretty smart, and it’s interesting to note how little has really been said about it.

Everyone is asking for him to do “something,” but the least we can do is give him a glove tap for what he’s already done.


  1. Mike

    Maine Hockey Journal speculated that the Sabres could resign Nolan Pratt to play for the Pirates. Hopefully that means you could reuse the Nolan Pratt tag.

  2. Ogre39666

    I have no problem with Darcy. I’ve taken to calling him the Billy Beane/Theo Epstein of hockey (taking the success with a budget from Beane and post-season success from Epstein, albeit lesser post-season success).

    And regarding trade-deadline moves; the thought process in acquiring Torres was sound, it just didn’t work out that great (although I suspect he was a victim of small sample size).

  3. dani

    I like Jerome. And his accent. And he folded his sheets. Win.

  4. Tom Luongo

    From what I heard this morning on HF, Atlanta didn’t even show up to the MacArthur meeting having already decided to walk away from him, regardless. Salt to taste, obviously.

    Regier has many faults, but the moves he made last season with the bottom of his roster were both out-of-character and very welcome.


  5. Mike

    So is Clarke now completely boned as far as finding an NHL team? Nobody will pay him that much. I kind of feel bad for him.