One of the greatest disappointments of last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs was the production of David Clarkson. In his first year as a Leaf, Clarkson only managed to score five goals, while adding six assists for a not-so grand total of 11 points. All this after signing a seven-year contract in which his cap hit is $5.25-million.
Of course, this led most of the hockey world to declare the signing to be a bust, especially around these parts. It was in the first year, I’ll give you that. However, to declare that this was a bad signing after a single bad season is wrong. Even the NHL’s best have down years and I’m willing to bet that last year was Clarkson’s down year.
He had to get used to a new coach that didn’t use him as much as Peter DeBoer in New Jersey did. He didn’t get as much power-play time. Being shifted from line to line also doesn’t help chemistry all that much.
This upcoming season, I would expect a huge rebound compared to his production last year. I don’t think he’ll score 20 goals but he’ll get close to it and if he gets a chance to develop chemistry with a line, whether it’s the second or third, his assist totals should go up. Remember, the Leafs look like they will have four lines this year that could be a threat to score, so even third- and fourth-liners could get respectable point totals.
That is just my opinion though. What’s yours? Is Clarkson beyond hope for you? Or do you share my opinion and are looking forward to a rebound season from the hometown Leaf?