Arnason played his junior hockey in Flin Flon in the WHL, scoring a league leading 79 goals in junior in 1970-71. From there his career declined. He was drafted 7th overall by Montreal the same year the Habs chose Guy Lafleur number one (1970), but Arnason played only bits and pieces with the Habs between 1971 and 1973 and he was traded to Atlanta for a 1st-round draft choice.
But Arnason played only half a season with the Flames before going to Pittsburgh, and the following year, his first full season, he had an excellent year. He skated on the right side with Pierre Larouche and Bob Kelly. That was good for 26 goals, but the coaches wanted him to work on defence. The Rifleman had the shot but not the commitment in his own end, and this spelled trade with the Pens.
Off to Kansas City, Colorado, then Cleveland, Minnesota, and finally Washington, all the lower-placed teams in the league. Incredibly, he scored 21 goals with Cleveland in 1977-78 despite playing just 40 games, but his reward was a trade to the North Stars. In 1980 he went to Germany to play, but he suffered a career-ending knee injury at training camp. Despite playing 401 NHL games, he appeared in only nine playoff games, the result of playing for so many poor teams during his NHL career.