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Clarkson: Lamoriello, DeBoer ‘biggest reasons’ he’s in the NHL

Nov 8, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT

David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in a pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(September 21, 2013 - Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

On Friday night, Toronto forward David Clarkson will face off against the Devils — the team he broke into the National Hockey League with.

And to hear him explain it, he wouldn’t be where he is today without them.

“Mr. Lamoriello and Pete DeBoer are probably two of the biggest reasons I’m in the National Hockey League,” Clarkson said, as per the Canadian Press. “Pete DeBoer is someone that I believe has made me successful in my career by giving me opportunity and believing in me and understanding me as a person.”

Clarkson, 29, signed a massive seven-year, $36.75 deal with Toronto this summer, a financial windfall based largely on his body of work with the Devils, a club that deserves credit for aiding in his development. The Devils signed Clarks as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and allowed him to grow as a player —  when Clarkson broke in, he was primarily viewed as a checking/enforcer-type (he fought 41 times in his first two full years with New Jersey) but matured into a good power forward, scoring a career-high 30 goals in 2011-12 (and 12 points in 24 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup Final.)

“I think I’ll always be grateful to them,” Clarkson explained. “I’ll always be thankful.”

What’s interesting now, though, is that Clarkson finds himself almost back at square one in Toronto. The role he established for himself in New Jersey has escaped him in Toronto — his 10-game suspension to start the year and a rash of injuries to Maple Leaf forwards have forced him to move all over the place, without establishing a true identity.

“I’m trying to get to know my surroundings,” Clarkson said. “I got suspended early in exhibition so I really don’t know much yet. I’m just trying to fit in (as a) piece of the puzzle, wherever that is.

“It has been different, but I’m trying to figure out what part it is that I do fit in.”

  1. newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Lou has been he mastermind behind the Devils.

    He tends to find the gems out there is some players you would never expect.

    Here’s hoping to another 20 years with Lou at the helm.

    • nj666 - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      we have no draft pick this year…

      • newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        You can thank Bettman for that move. Other GM’s have done the same thing with other players as well.

        Circumventing the cap was nothing new other than the Devils were penalized for their actions.

        No, thanks to the quitter Kovalchuck as well.

      • themagicman1223 - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        It’s a freaking joke that they have to forfeit the pick this year, even if I’m not a Devils fan I can’t imagine my team having to give up what might be a top 10 pick.

  2. bekay19 - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I don’t think anyone has done more with less then Lou Lammy has with the Devils. He is the best GM in hockey.

    Its a shame there fan base is atrocious because they consistently field competitive teams (obviously this year excluded because of Kovaluchuk).

    • ibieiniid - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      the 3 thumbs downers aren’t hockey fans. they’re fans of their own team, that’s it.

      what bekay said is FACT. except you can’t attribute the WHOLE bad season (so far) to Kovy.

  3. nj666 - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I’m still a clarkson fan, there was no bad blood when he left. I hope he has a great career except for tonight.

  4. 950003cups - Nov 8, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    How can you not wish the best for Clarkson? He came to nj as a walk on a few years back. Look at him now. He got $38 million to play.

  5. sampulls - Nov 8, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Clarksen will be bought out at some point in the next few years….you don’t pay a guy who doesn’t even have a 100 nhl points in his entire career a whooping $38m.

    • valoisvipers - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      In a few years,38mil might look like chump change.

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