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Clarkson on drought: ‘I wasn’t brought here to score 50 goals’

Nov 19, 2013, 9:17 AM 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

Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson was suspended for the first 10 games of the season because he left the bench during a preseason contest to participate in a fight. He’s played in 10 contests since returning and hasn’t scored a single goal.

Not exactly an ideal start to his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I wasn’t brought here to score 50 goals,” Clarskon told TSN. “I was brought here for that full game that I bring, competing every night.”

Certainly, a big part of Clarskon’s appeal comes from the fact that he plays a complete game, but complete is the key word there. You don’t sign a player that brings heart and grit alone to a seven-year, $36.75 million contract. The 29-year-old’s goal-scoring touch is just one facet of his game, but it had to have been a meaningful factor when his value was determined over the summer.

That being said, goal scorers can be streaky and the sample size is still small.

“We think that David Clarkson has got a lot to offer to our hockey club and he’s had his fair share of chances,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “He’s a little bit snake-bitten, but if he continues to go to the net the way he’s been going and we continue to drive that middle lane and get pucks directed around him he’ll score some goals for us. We believe that.”

Perhaps he’ll catch a break tonight against the New York Islanders.

  1. jason9696 - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    No. But one or two goals would be nice.

    • kaptaanamerica - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      I had compared this guy in the off season to Mike Santorelli, who had similar starts, size, etc… and said the Canucks were better off signing him for the minimum instead of this guy with his albatross of a deal.

      Leafs fans went nuts.I told them he was going to revert to his average goals per year around 15 and that he is a solid third liner. They wouldn’t hear of it.I told them this contract was bad from a cap stand point.they didn’t believe me.

      Who’s looking right now?

      • 950003cups - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        I’m sorry, I like Clarkson. He’s a good guy off the ice. Pleasant to say hello to. Great attitude. Hardcore team first guy. Solid 3rd liner. He ups his play in big games. By a 30 goal scorer? No. Whoever made the stupid decision to sign him to that contract and expect him to live up to it is a complete A-Hole!

        Clarkson was a 15+ goal scorer UNTIL……
        He was reunited with Pete DeBoer. That was his coach in juniors who knew how to get the most out of him. As a matter of fact, David Clarkson was about to quit hockey in juniors and it was DeBoer who talked him in to sticking to it. DeBoer knows Clarkson’s skills more than he knows himself. Clarkson was also noticeably motivated as soon as DeBoer came to NJ. The guy put up timely clutch goals under DeBoer. Playoffs too. Just look at Game 2 of the 2012 ECF vs NYR.

      • 950003cups - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Point was, if Toronto wants him to put up numbers, they’ll have to hire DeBoer just for Clarkson’s sake. That’s obviously not gonna happen.

  2. thecheeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    He’s not snake-bitten. It’s just that for one flukey season he was the opposite of snake-bitten. Lots of pucks going in the net off his leg and hip and shoulder and such.

    Still devastatingly handsome though, and that’s got to be worth a buck o five to you Leafs fans.

  3. thecheeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Also never good to hear the coach already saying “We think he’s got a lot to offer”

  4. bruinsfan55 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Still don’t think he is worth 5.7Mil or whatever he is making maybe a 3-3.5 mil would be better he is more of a 3rd grinding 15 goal scorer with a veteran presence

    • elvispocomo - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      No kidding. Clarkson’s just another example of why you don’t rush to overpay for the top UFAs – especially on a long term deal. The Leafs will be stuck with this one until Clarkson’s 36.

  5. hooockey - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Chris Neil and Shawn Thornton do what Clarkson does for under $2 million.

    • thecheeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      I haven’t seen enough of Neil’s game on a consistent basis but Clarkson’s a much better player than Thornton.

  6. esracerx46 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Have the Leafs used both of their compliance buyouts? I know Grabovski was one. Wasn’t Komisarek the other? I really like David Clarkson. Not at a 5.25 million cap hit though.

    • 19to77 - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Yeah, the other was used on Komisarek. What makes this whole situation great is that they had Clarke MacArthur to fill the role already. He settled in Ottawa for a two-year contract with a $3.25m cap hit. Meanwhile, Clarkson’s signed to a seven-year anchor at over five million a season, and MacArthur has three more goals and six more assists while providing excellent defensive play on the Sens’ second and third lines.

      The Leafs literally already had a cheaper, better version of the same guy and let him leave. What a joke.

      • elvispocomo - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        Yup, I’d rather have kept MacArthur as well for his price and term. Then they wouldn’t have had all the worries about how to sign both Kadri and Franson over the summer so I just don’t understand the thought process in Toronto.

  7. jpelle82 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    he’s got the same number of fights as he does points. will be interested to see if he can keep that pace up. i mean after all, he’s just a glorified 4th liner anyway….

    • thecheeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      I just checked and he’s 11th on the Maple Leafs in Power Play points per game. I’m a Devils fan and let me tell you something, if the Leafs don’t play him on the first PP team (and why would they) you’d be exceedingly lucky to get 12 goals from him this year.

      He’s got two goal-scoring methods, and there is nothing fancy about them.
      1) Stand in front of the net on the PP and deflect pucks
      2) Skate around the back of the net from the goalie’s left-to-right on the forehand while leaning into the defenseman with your body, then when you get around the net try and whip a quick puck from a bad angle.

      That’s all there is folks, unless any Leafs fans can say he’s trying new things this year, it’s not a formula for sustained goal-scoring success.

  8. btlpper68 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    The clear sign the leafs just blew 35 m on a 4 line tough guy

  9. rushledger - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    You were brought in to get suspended for 10 games and than injure Rob Scuderi while trying to make up for the games missed by overplaying situations.

  10. nj666 - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    where are all those from the offseason who said the devils were screwed without this guy? Granted the devils are screwed but clarkson wouldn’t have made a difference. Although Ryane Clowe is turning out to be a huge mistake.

  11. timbonz255 - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    As a Devils fan, Clarky’s performance to date has me thinking of Scott Gomez’s performance after he left Jerzey.

    • Whooten Anit - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      As a Devils fan, Clarky’s performance to date has me thinking of David Clarkson’s performance most of the time he was in Jerzey.

  12. crazemastercraze - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    I agree with Hooockey. No wonder the Devils let him walk. His salary is a total joke

  13. jason9696 - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    He finally scored tonight. Good for him.

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