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MacArthur Avoids Arbitration; Sekera Signs Multi-Year Deal

The Buffalo Sabres announced today that they  re-signed restricted free agents Clarke MacArthur and Andrej Sekera.  MacArthur was set to be the first restricted free agent to have an arbitration hearing this season but he signed a one-year deal with the Sabres before the hearing began.  Sekera signed a reported multi-year deal which means that he will be under contract for at least two seasons.

The MacArthur deal is a one -year deal that will make him a restricted free agent again next season.  I have not been able to confirm the terms of the Sekera deal outside of reporting it is a multi-year deal.

Signing both players is a key statement by the Sabres ownership that are willing to spend money to win hockey games.  The Sabres are going to be well above their self-imposed budget and still have a couple of players that aren't under contract.  Drew Stafford is possibly the biggest name free agent on the team and he remains unsigned.

Say what you will about Clarke MacArthur but his signing is important for the Sabres chances in 2009-2010.  He scored a career high 17 goals in just his first full NHL season.  He needs plenty of work to become a more complete player but he has scoring abilities that many players don't have.  He is always in a great position to score and finds the back of the net when presented the opportunity.

2008 - Clarke MacArthur 71 17 14 31 -4 56 5 0 0 2 108 15.7

If MacArthur works hard in the off-season and becomes a more physical player he could take over a game.  He scored 17 goals this season without ever getting his nose dirty.  His lack of commitment was obvious and frustrated Lindy Ruff to the point that C-Mac spent a lot of time in the press box as well as the third and fourth lines.

If he decides that he wants to play every shift this season there is no reason that he can't score 25-30 goals.  He has the talent to be an everyday top six forward but it depends on him and his desire to succeed.

Signing Andrej Sekera was just as important as the MacArthur signing if not more so.  Sekera has the potential to become one of the elite defensive players in the entire league.  That is saying a lot for a guy that was a minus 11 last season. 

2008 - Andrej Sekera 69 3 16 19 -11 22 1 0 1 0 84 3.6

Last season was the first full season for Sekera and he had the unfortunate circumstance of suffering an injury that forced him to miss a considerable amount of time.  He played well before his injury but never fully recovered and struggled the second half of the season.

Sekera was a dominate offensive force while playing in Juniors and the Sabres hope he will regain that form.  They have not asked him to be anything more than a defenseman before this season but with the departure of Jaro Spacek he is expected to play a more offensive role.  In the past he has been compared to a Brian Campbell but more responsible in his own zone.

There is still more work to be done this off-season but the Sabres showed they are committed to winning with the signings today.  They didn't bring in any new players but they committed to a couple of players that will be important to the teams success this season.