Should the Edmonton Oilers trade for Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson?
It is no secret that David Clarkson was one of the players rookie Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish went after hard this summer.
When Clarkson signed with Toronto, MacTavish expressed his regret and said that he “thought this guy was an Oiler.” Shortly thereafter, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that Clarkson had left money on the table when he signed his seven-year pact worth $36.75 million. LeBrun didn’t report it as fact, but said he suspected the team to make Clarkson an even more lucrative offer was Edmonton.
One suspects that these days the Maple Leafs are wishing the Oilers had won that bidding
Clarkson, who has just received his second suspension of the season (two games for hitting Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka in the head) has all of two goals and six points 23 games into his Toronto career. He isn’t scoring, the Maple Leafs aren’t winning, the contract runs forever and Toronto has no compliance buyouts left. It’s a bad situation.
So why would the Oilers have any interest in getting dragged into it?
The first reason is that things aren’t as bad as they seem. Clarkson has a 4.0 shooting percentage, which is less than half his career of average of 9.1 percent. There’s upward mobility there. He has the best Corsi rating on the team, continuing the strong work driving shots that he demonstrated himself capable of in New Jersey. He’s still a big, tough, two-way guy who can score 20-or-more goals.
More importantly, he’s still the guy Edmonton’s management group pursued this summer. The Oilers brain trust is convinced that Edmonton needs a guy in the Clarkson mold, a tough power forward who can add some edge to a skill line. While that’s a lower priority than finding legitimate number one and number two defencemen, it’s something the team is going to keep spending money on until they find it.