For the month of August, Editor in Leaf will take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, previewing what could happen in the 2014-15 NHL season. Next on the docket is a Leaf looking to rebound, David Clarkson.
Position: Right Wing
Years With Leafs: 1
That is what David Clarkson was paid for every point he had during his initial season with the Maple Leaf if you take his actual salary and not his cap hit.
Obviously, last season was not the best for Clarkson, who signed a seven-year deal to come and play for his home-town Maple Leafs. With his debut season over with, now the question is whether or not he can rebound and have a successful 2014-15 season.
With all the depth the Leafs picked over the off-season, Clarkson will have to fight for his job as the default second-line center. With players like David Booth, Petri Kontiola and Matt Frattin, all players who can play the right side added, Clarkson should have the motivation to get his but moving.
The biggest disappointment around Clarkson is a problem that more than few Maple Leafs have endured during their careers. That is living up to their cap hit. Mike Komisarek had to go through it. Dion Phaneuf is going through it. After signing one of the biggest deals of last off-season, Clarkson put himself in the position to disappoint the hard to please Leafs Nation.
Now, Clarkson isn’t going to be winning any Art Ross trophies anytime soon, but the expectation will be for him to boost his point totals dramatically. He’ll be expected to get back to his near-20 goal output and have about 40-50 points. With the Leafs looking like they will be a more offensive team throughout their four offensive lines and those expectations are out of the realm of possibility.
Big Question: Can he rebound?
I have said all along that Clarkson will enjoy a strong rebound season this year. The motivation is there and the Leafs need him to get at least a little closer to earning that $5.25 million cap hit.