At one point this weekend I was a little sad for the NHL and then at another point of the weekend I was smiling because all I could imagine was Brian Burke laughing his ass off.
I’m not going to argue that David Clarkson isn’t a stand-up guy or that he doesn’t do a lot for the people in his community because he does. He still has a charitable organization in Kitchner where he played his minor league hockey and there are countless organizations he gave his time to while in New Jersey but he’s being paid to play hockey, not run charities. And while he’s a decent hockey player, I do question the amount of money he is now being paid to play hockey.
Clarkson is going to get $5.25 million per year for the next 7 years. Nathan Horton also signed a 7-year deal for a cap hit of $5.3 million per but many thought that was too much but then seemed ok with the Clarkson deal. Horton has six seasons with 20 or more goals, a Stanley Cup ring and a 0.84 points-per-game average in the postseason. Clarkson has one 30-goal season, no ring and a 0.32 PPG average in the postseason.
I don’t want to take too much away from Clarkson because he does serve some good out on the ice. He’s a tough guy to get off the puck which creates opportunities for him and his teammates, he knows how to forecheck, isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and can deliver a big check from time to time. But at $5.25 million, I would expect to be getting a guy that would stay a top 6 foreward, something he wasn’t always in NJ. He’s also been known to be undisciplined at times and wildly inconsistent with his goal scoring. In 2013, he had one goal in 17 games; in 2012, he had one goal in 10 games; and in 2011, he had one goal in 19 games. In my opinion, David Clarkson had failed to play up to his potential until Peter DeBoer, who coached him in Kitchner, got to NJ.
I also must take into account that Clarkson is coming from a team that has missed the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 years. Yes, NJ made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 but that wasn’t because of the play from David Clarkson. If David Clarkson is such a powerhouse of offensive talent to bring in the kind of contract that Toronto has given him, then why wasn’t he able to carry the Devils to the playoff this year while Ilya Kovalchuk was out of the lineup? In the final month of the season, which was a very critical time for NJ, Clarkson found the net only 3 times (1 of which came after the Devils had been eliminated from the playoff race).
The bottom line is that David Clarkson is a good player and can be an asset to many teams but I question the amount of money and the length of the contract. Hopefully for Toronto’s sake I am wrong and David Clarkson can prove he’s a power forward worthy of such a big pay day.