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.

26 Responses to Should the Edmonton Oilers trade for Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson?

  1. leafmeister says:

    Is anyone honestly surprised? I like Clarkson as much as the next guy, but anyone who didn’t see this coming has been watching another team.

  2. lafleur10 says:

    clarkson has been a major bust for the money he signed for if the leafs have a chance to unload that contract they should do it and fast
    clarrkson thrives playing for the devils,but will never live up to the contract the leafs gave him

    • LN91 says:

      While important in realizing that Clarkson is overpaid…The Leafs were NOT the highest bidder. Teams wanted him, some even at $6 million…Including the Oilers.

      • lafleur10 says:

        yup he took less than what was being offered by other teams to sign in toronto,now i bet the leafs wish he had signed with someone else because paying a 3 liner 5 million dollars will handcuff them going forward

        • LN91 says:

          Not really…The entire top-6 is locked up already. The only one is Kadri…And after this year, he won’t be making the first-line money.

          • lafleur10 says:

            well he’s not a top 6 forward imo he’s more of a top 9 3rd line guy but he’s paid as a top 6 and he just isn’t doing it for the money the leafs would be better served to find as replacement for him in their top6

            • LN91 says:

              Probably, but when I say top-6…I mean Lupul, JVR, Kessel, Bozak, and Clarkson (as of right now) are all tied-up for the next 5-seasons.

              I could do without Clarkson or Bozak…But time will tell.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          How? The cap will go up significantly each year. How will Clarkson handcuff the Leafs going forward when every team in the league will have a 3rd liner making 5 million?

          Clarkson’s contract will look fine given other UFAs will be over paid more in each consecutive off season.

          • lafleur10 says:

            that’s too much money for a 3rd liner you pay legit 1st and 2nd liner’s that money not a 3rd line player and that’s what he is a 3rd line guy

            • leafmeister says:

              If you can get a legit first line guy locked up for under 6 million you have done well. 5-6 is a good number for a reliable 2nd line guy like Lupul.

              I would be fine with the contract if Clarkson is a 20-20 guy who dominates on the boards and protects his teammates. If he cannot do that though, then you gotta think you could have a player of equal production for under half the price.

              • lafleur10 says:

                clarkson isn’t a legit 1st or 2nd line guy though and for what he’s paid to do it’s too much lupul injury prone and all is better than clarkson and isn’t paid as much

            • leafs_wallace93 says:

              Why respond to my post if you completely ignore the content and not reply to the point that was made.

              In a couple years first line money will be 8-12 million.

              • lafleur10 says:

                and my point is he’s not a 1st line or 2nd line player and they are paying him like no they’llcome to regret that contract

                • leafmeister says:

                  What 1st line player could you sign as a UFA for 5.25 million? It is a lot of money, but it is not first liner money.

                  It is 2nd line money, which, I think we agree, is a role Clarkson can play, but it is not ideal. He adds an interesting dynamic to a 2nd line, but he doesnt have the offensive ability of a true top 6 forward. He plays more of a complimentary role.

  3. leafmeister says:

    Any word on Bolland? I thought they were supposed to have a reasonably good idea of his recovery schedule by now. Is he off crutches yet?

  4. lafleur10 says:

    leafmeister they said during the intermission between the 2 games that bolland is off crutches and is in a walking boot walking around but still no timetable for his return or when he can start working out

    • leafmeister says:

      Alright so other than not having a timetable that sounds like it is healing roughly as they predicted. Having him back by after the Olympic break would be huge.

      These injuries are tough, but it forced them into making a pretty good trade for Holland. He has been a pretty solid contributor, and has not looked out of place at all. He definitely has top 6 potential.

  5. blaze says:

    Only in Toronto would the hate be this bad. Most Toronto fans never were fond of the contract just the player.

    He will never get the opportunity to crack 30 goals again here, too many higher skilled players above him. I think th understood that

  6. blaze says:

    Only in Toronto would the hate be this bad. Most Toronto fans never were fond of the contract just the player.

    He will never get the opportunity to crack 30 goals again here, too many higher skilled players above him. I think most fans understood that and expected a 20g-20a kind of guy.

    It’s been a rough start and the whole team has sturggled not just Clarkson. He has still been good addition to the team in many other areas, just not producing. I’m not really worried about the contract. Either the rising cap will make it negligible or Nonis will find a way to get rid of it.

  7. leafy says:

    The one point many people are forgetting is that players like Clarkson are needed for the playoffs…that is, if you can get in.

    Who would you rather have in the playoffs against Boston, if you can replay last spring’s series, Grabovski, MacArthur, or Clarkson?

    The playoff game is completely different from the regular season. I hope the Leafs can play just 1 playoff year with Clarkson.

    • reinjosh says:

      I think you, Blaze, and LN91 all made good points.

      Clarkson didn’t take the highest deal. He took one with a team he really wanted to play for. Which is a good thing.

      And yeah I think people liked him, just not the contract. With the cap going up by almost 7 million, it’s going to be a lot less of a painful contract. Still not great but that’s what you pay to get power forwards in this league. Ryan Malone is a good example.

      And you make a very good point. If were in the playoffs sometime in the life of his contract, he’ll be a very valuable player, whether he’s on the 2nd line, or on the 3rd. He’s the type of player you win with. His whole value might be made up in the playoffs alone. I mean that’s why you seen guys like Bryan Bickell get 4 million for one playoff season.

      Clarkson is hardly the first case of a power forward getting paid big bucks. He’ll won’t be the last either.

      I was never a fan of giving him a contract, but I’ll say it’s a little early to give him such a hard time. Players in the first years of big contracts can tend to try really had to justify them, making the play they were actually signed for suffer. The Flames saw it with Wideman and Hudler. They’re now killing it. Clarkson will get back to playing his game and we’ll all start to love him for it (even if we hate that contract).

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        Well said. Totally agree.
        I like Clarkson, still do. He adds something we don’t have and the points will come…if he can stop getting
        I hated the contract from the start, as we all did. He plays hard and wants to be here which is huge and his style of play is playoff hockey to a T. He will give everything he has and plays without fear and is a great team guy. The price is high, but he gives us something we sorely lacked…and still could use more of.

  8. reinjosh says:

    If Holland starts to play really well, and Kadri is proving he has the potential and skill to play with Kessel/JVR, what do we once Bolland/Bozak come back?

    I think I’d love to see a third of Bolland flanked by Kulemin and Clarkson. I’d love to continue to see if Holland and Lupul can stick together, and I really think Kadri should stick with Kessel/JVR.

    Do we look at trading Bozak? Do we do that with Bolland instead since he’s not signed? Do we actually look at what Kadri could get? Or do we do nothing and simply move Bozak to the wing in case of injury, suspension, or Raymond/Bolland leaving in the offseason for richer waters?

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      I’d really hope to resign Bolland. We were so much better with him in the lineup, he’s a playoff monster, best pk player, a winner, and a Toronto boy. He’s one of the best 3rd liners in the game who can comfortably play 2nd line. As long as the price tag isn’t too ridiculous, I look to lock him up.

      I agree with you, Bolland, Kulemin, Clarkson is a great shutdown line with some solid offensive potential.

      • reinjosh says:

        I like Bolland, the only issue I have with him is his penchant for injuries. I’m a little uncomfortable with having two key players in our top 9 who have such injury issues in Lupul and Bolland.

        But I would probably agree, he’s been a player we are better with. As long as he isn’t too much, and we aren’t counting on him to be the 2nd line center, I’d be good with him being resigned.

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