Sens lucky Leafs bust Clarkson declined their offer

The lament of every fisherman is “the big one that got away.”

NHL general managers have their own hits and misses, big fish they pursue in rough, open waters. Sometimes they reel them in, more often they miss.

Routinely, the free agent that teams DON’T sign turns out to be the greatest move of all. Genius, by default.

This comes to mind in any discussion of David Clarkson, the gritty, longtime New Jersey Devils winger hotly pursued by the Ottawa Senators last summer, but who today represents the worst free agent signing of last summer. With a distressing seven-year deal for a 29-year-old of limited skill, the Toronto Maple Leafs invested $36.75 million in Clarkson, or a cap hit of $5.25 million.

Just over three years ago, Clarkson was being paid $875,000 by the Devils. In 2010, he signed a three-year contract with a cap hit of $2.6 million, reasonable compensation for a character, third-line player who contributed 24 points per season on average during his first four full seasons with the Devils.

Timing is everything. Clarkson delivered his best numbers as free agency approached — a 30-goal, 46-point spree in 2011-12 and then 15 goals and 24 points in 48 games last season. On a talent-starved Devils roster, Clarkson progressed from a 12- or 13-minute per game grinder into a power play guy getting 16, 17 precious minutes a night.

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12 Responses to Sens lucky Leafs bust Clarkson declined their offer

  1. doorman says:

    Mark my words, this guy is not a bust. I don’t think he is being used the way he should and he wasn’t signed to pot 30+ goals every season. Besides if Steen is worth 6 mill a season, Clarkson is worth this, IMO.

  2. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Stephen Weiss anyone?

    Clarkson is not a bust. It’s not a good start to the season, but playing him with Smith and Raymond or worse at times is not the answer. Anyone that has watched the Leafs saw he was getting his game together and then Bozak and Bolland go down and he is playing with Smith mostly. He is hardly being given an opportunity to succeed like Kadri gets this year.
    I would really like the Leafs to try
    Lupul Holland Kessel
    JVR Kadri Clarkson
    Raymond McClement Kulimen
    but I doubt it happens.

    • LN91 says:

      McCLement as a third-line center is brutal. Can they not call up McKegg? I know he’s raw…But atleast he brings a skill-set to him.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        McClement is not brutal.

        McKegg though? Honestly?
        So you want our top 3 centres to be Kadri, Holland and McKegg. If we don’t get eaten alive enough at centre, we will now.

        • LN91 says:

          McClement as a third-line center has been brutal…Theirs been no production at all.

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            I am not necessarily looking for production from that line. I am looking for solid shifts and not letting the other team score. We have too young centreman already in Kadri and Holland. Kadri is brutal in his own end and Holland is ok. McKegg will not help us keep pucks out of the net. Playing McClement 10 mins a night and giving McKegg 15-17 mins would be a huge mistake.

      • mojo19 says:

        There are games this year when only McClement (and whoever he’s paired up with, often Kulemin) can get a cycle going, while all the other lines are completely hemmed in.

        Not to mention vs. Chicago, the McClement vs Toews matchup was huge. Jay McClement did a great shadow job on Toews early, took him out of the game and the Leafs got rolling.

        If you let Toews into the game the rest of the Hawks feed off that and come on like waves. If you take Toews out of the equation, the reverse domino effect happens throughout their line up and they’re very beatable.

        Why the hell would you want to put in a little punk like McKegg for McClement?

  3. While he’s not a bust. I will say that a lot of NJD fans were happy to see him go and never once though he was going to put up points on another team. They loved his grit and board play, but a lot feel that there are times when he’s nowhere to be found, and it goes on for stretches.

  4. leafs_wallace93 says:

    People decided he was a bust the day he signed, has little to do with his play so far.

    • mojo19 says:

      Very true.

      Also, does New Jersey make the Cup final 2 years ago without Clarkson? Unlikely.

      Wait until the playoffs, to see the real value of David Clarkson. When the whistles get put away, and the intensity amplifies, that’s when you see what Clarkson brings.

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