An arbitrator’s ruling on a $2.4 million award for Clarke MacArthur appears to be the new bar for youthful speedsters with sniper potential.  Of course, MacArthur won’t be joining freshly re-inked scoring wingers Mason Raymond and Matt Moulson on the money train just yet.  The Atlanta Thrashers chose to reject the arbitrator’s ruling on the lofty award for 16-goal man MacArthur.  Perhaps in an effort to curtail any potential of arbitration breaking the bank for their prized young wingers, the Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders chose to lock up Raymond and Moulson with a couple of short-term big raises.

Raymond signed a last minute two-year deal with the Canucks worth $5.1 million on Monday, after enjoying a breakout season in 2009-10 where he notched 25-goals and 53-points as one of the league’s most exciting skaters.  Raymond, 24, is figured in as one of the Canucks’ top-six forwards for next season and re-signing him without taking up too big of salary cap chunk was one of general manager Mike Gillis’ top priorities this offseason;

“There was a range of potential awards and when we looked at it after sitting down and having some discussion we were able to find mutual agreement for a contract that both rewards Mason for his performance and the increase he has had in his statistical performance over the last couple of years and yet gives the club a measure of stability as we move through our salary cap plans for the next two years…” – Mike Gillis, excerpt from the Vancouver Sun

For Moulson, the $2.45 million 1-year deal is a tick above the ill-fated arbitration ruling awarded to MacArthur, and worth every penny in comparison as Moulson led the Islanders with 30-goals last season. As Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy alluded to earlier today; the Moulson signing robs hockey fans of all of the fun of arbitration, but it could prove to be a suave decision by the 26-year old. Another productive season with the Isles could net Moulson and even bigger payday as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2010-11 season. Then again, Moulson may fade into oblivion as a one-year wonder and the Isles can let him walk.

Matt Moulson earned $575,000 last season with the Islanders, while Raymond earned $760,000 from the Canucks. Both players now find themselves in a new tax bracket, and very soon they’ll be introduced to the increased expectations that come with their raises.