The start of David Clarkson‘s career with the Toronto Maple Leafs has not gone as planned. It has, in fact, gone horribly wrong. This has led to some media folk talking about the possibility of the Leafs buying out his contract only after one year. The Hockey News is one of them.
Today, unfortunately on Clarkson’s 30th birthday, he has to hear this talk that he might be kicked out of the city he basically grew up in. If the Leafs buy him out, I believe it will be a massive mistake.
First, take into account that the Leafs already used their two buyouts that don’t count against the salary cap from last off-season on Mike Komisarek and Mikhail Grabovski. If the Leafs were to buy out Clarkson, all of the money would count against the cap and it would last another 12 seasons. That alone should stop the Leafs from thinking that way.
Now, sure, Clarkson’s season has sucked, for the lack of a better word, but he should be given the chance to bounce back next season. If you put him in a position where he has the chance to succeed he probably will.
A lot has been said about his lack of offensive production. Yes, more was expected of him, but if the coaching staff doesn’t give him the chance, how is he supposed to.
When Clarkson was in New Jersey, he was a regular on their power play. That is where a lot of his production came from. In Toronto, he has not been given much of a chance on the power play, at least not playing with players that will either give him the puck or that he can find.
Clarkson has had some unlucky breaks this season. He has had suspension trouble. He has been injured a couple of times. Not a lot has gone right for Clarkson this season.
This is considered a big problem because of the contract he signed last season. If you play badly in the first year of a new contract, you will be criticized mercilessly. However, most players get a mulligan on that season and bounce back the next. If Clarkson is given the chance, I believe he will bounce back as well.