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Potential UFA target: David Clarkson

The Rangers have been burned by ex-Devils before, but that’s not what should keep them away from David Clarkson

We all know that converted Devils haven’t made for the best Rangers. It’s an inescapable trend, but it would also be foolish for the team to make decisions based on past history rather than judging what individual players bring to the table.

So with that said, GM Glen Sather and company should give serious thought to making a run at pending UFA winger David Clarkson.

Prior to last season, Clarkson was best known for being a pest, unafraid to drop the gloves and often yapping away at opponents. In fact, his style was very reminiscent of former Ranger fan favorite Sean Avery.

But suddenly last year Clarkson became something Avery never was – a goal scorer.  It still sounds weird to say, but Clarkson busted out for 30 goals in 2011-2012 and started off at an even better pace this season with 10 goals in his first 14 games before tailing off.  He finished the season with 15 goals to lead the Devils.

Now Clarkson is going to expect to be paid like the elite level scorer he’s proven to be over the last two seasons.  And that’s the danger of chasing him this summer.

I have no doubt that Clarkson would make a tremendous Blueshirt.  He’s speedy, scrappy, terrific in front of the net and he gives his all every night.  But is it realistic to expect him to be a 25-30 goal scorer consistently going forward after he posted 9, 17, 11 and 12 goals in his first four full NHL seasons?

Some of those same things were said about Ryan Callahan not long ago and we all know how that turned out.  Clarkson doesn’t have Callahan’s talent, but some guys just have a knack for putting pucks in the net.  It’s just probably not going to be worth the risk.

New Jersey is eager to keep the 29-year-old and a host of other teams will be lining up come July 1st if Clarkson hits the open market.  He could very well command in excess of $5 million a season.  That’s the going rate for players that have produced on Clarkson’s level in recent years, but it’s too much for a guy that is best suited penciled onto your third line.

Clarkson is right in the middle of his peak years, but we’ve seen how quickly guys can decline once they hit the wrong side of 30.  Even if the Rangers buy out Brad Richards and have plenty of cap room, should they immediately turn around and invest long-term in another guy that is clearly a risk?

I love Clarkson as a player, but if I was Sather there’s no way I’d be prepared to dole out that kind of cash for a pest that may or may not ever approach his recent level of production again.

35 Responses to “Potential UFA target: David Clarkson”

  1. Cole says:

    In my opinion the Rangers have to steer clear of Clarkson. He’s a solid player but he is going to command way too much money in the open market (if he gets there) and will probably not be worth it in the end. Former Devils have awful track records with the Rangers and while that in it of itself isn’t enough to keep the Rangers away it certainly makes you think. I say pass on Clarkson and try and find someone who fits the same mold without the same numbers as a cheaper alternative.

    • supermaz says:

      I agree. The wrong side of 30 and we don’t need 20-25 goals from a 3rd line player. 10-15 would be more than welcome and a salary more in the range of 1-2 million.

      • czechthemout!!! says:

        The most absurd cooment I have ever read. Why would you not want a third line player scoring 25 goals? Oh, and I don’t want Clarkson

        • Kevin says:

          I think supermaz meant the Rangers shouldn’t be paying what it would cost to bring in 25 goals on the 3rd line, same argument as everyone else.

  2. Michael says:

    I would be all for giving him 4 years at 12 millions, or 3 years at 9. I would love if he accepted 3 million a year, so who knows. And if the rangers dont sign him, i would love for him to go out west somewhere so we dont have to worry about him, and the devils get even worse, losing another top free agent each year

    • MBN says:

      I agree. I would be reluctant to go past 3 years, but I can’t see paying more then $3 million per for him. I think the likelihood that he regresses to his former offensive abilities is greater than the chances that he continues at a 25-30 goal pace.

  3. Rangerman says:

    CLarkson- He’s tough, stands in front of the net, scores goals,fairly young, not injury prone, great team player,
    Ranger’s definately don’t need him. Are you kidding me?

    • Kevin says:

      That’s not what I wrote or any of the commenters seem to be saying. Clarkson is a very good player the Rangers would be lucky to have, but not at the price he’ll fetch.

  4. Todd says:

    I’d take Clarkson over Clowe. Same type of game, little more scoring touch, and a year younger. For the extra 1.5-2 mil it would cost is it not worth it?

    • Walt says:

      Yeah, and without giving up a 2nd round choice as well. Oh, and he can skate, I’d make the deal for 3-4 years or so. We assume that he wants to stay in the metro area, and leave the swamps of NJ!!

      • Kevin says:

        Walt – that Clowe deal looks like such a trainwreck. I wasn’t happy about dealing all those picks at the time given Clowe’s recent injuries and as expected, those continued to be a problem. Shame.

        • Walt says:

          We are on the same page here!!!! The Flyers were interested in Clowe, let him go there, they can afford to blow money out the window.

        • Dave says:

          At the time of the deal, it wasn’t terrible. They needed to address depth without giving up roster players, and that’s what they did. If Clowe doesn’t suffer two concussions in a week with the Rangers, we aren’t having this discussion.

        • Ray says:

          In fairness to Sather, if Clowe doesn’t get hurt, if Staal comes back, and if Lundqvist gets hot, the Rangers have a real shot at the Cup, which they probably don’t without Clowe. A few draft picks for a shot at the Cup isn’t such a bad idea, but it looks awful if it doesn’t work.

    • Kevin says:

      Solid point here. However, I think given Clowe’s recent injury/concussion history, you’re not only looking at paying Clarkson an additional $2 million, but also giving him 3-4 more years than Clowe will get. Big difference.

  5. TxRanger says:

    So you think Sather should make a serious run at acquiring this guy, but you think Sather should not be tempted to sign this risky guy?

    • Kevin says:

      “give some serious thought to making a run.” Key difference. He’s obviously very tempting.

      • TxRanger says:

        So, you think Sather should consider signing him, but shouldn’t sign him? Ok…

  6. Randy says:

    I’ve said this earlier and I will say it again. If the Rangers don’t bring back Clowe (which I don’t think they should so they keep the 2nd round pick), they really have to look into signing one of these talented depth free agents. I still think Bozak would be the best fit because he is young and skilled, but a guy like Clarkson or MacArthur would work as well. If the Rangers can move Clowe, they will save a crucial draft pick and do some serious damage control to salvage a terrible deal. They will also free up some cap space to sign one of these FAs. I hate Clarkson, but he is definitely a guy you love to have, so I would be all for the signing as long as we don’t give him over 3 mil per. But let’s get Bozak instead!

  7. SalMerc says:

    I do not see a real big upside to him. I would hate to see a roster spot taken by him instead of JT Miller

    • Kevin says:

      I don’t see how the two are related. J.T. will have a spot to lose in training camp, especially with Hagelin and Callahan on the shelf.

      • SalMerc says:

        All depends on the coach and what Slats says. I learned long ago that players with newly signed contracts auto-make the team.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      If you can get a guy like Bozak on a reasonable deal, then you do it. You can’t worry about displacing a guy (Miller) who hasn’t earned a spot on the roster yet. That’s what camp’s for. Put em all out there and see which ones earn their spot on the roster.

      I’ve been saying it, the Rangers need center depth. Bozak would be a nice 3rd line center with offensive upside.

  8. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I would like to see us sign our own players.

    My hopes are this for the opening day line up

    Nash, Stepan, Callahan
    Clowe, Brassard, St Croix/Thomas
    Hagelin, Miller, Kreider
    Boyle, Lindberg, Asham
    Pyatt and Zuccarello

    McDonagh / Girardi
    Staal / McIlrath
    Moore / Stralman
    Del Zotto / Hughes/Allen

    Lundqvuist
    Biron

    These line ups not set in stone with players earning their location on the spot in the Roster

    Let the players decide by Nov if we need to “Make Moves” as that roster I have is not that shabby at all. Boston proved that we need Staal and Clowe in the line up.

    Richards, Staal, Del Zotto and Zuccarello would be the players considered trade bait in order to get into the draft.

    A trade I would do in a heart beat is trading two of the players to Carolina for Carolina’s 5th overall pick and Ryan Murphy. One other rugged winger via free agency would do the trick

    • Dave says:

      St. Croix is nowhere near NHL ready. Thomas is a long shot. Lindberg is an unknown. Kreider/Miller are also question marks, but are likely to at least get a few games before Hagelin/Callahan come back.

      What’s with just handing roster spots to kids? That’s not how this works.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I cringe that Clowe, Brassard, St Croix/Thomas would be a second line on a team that fancies itself a cup contender.

  9. Erixon20 says:

    Very tempting…Clarkson is a guy that would make us much better and harder to play against. Also, he’s the type of guy that you love on your team. But, as it has been said, he will be too expensive and on the wrong side of 30. I think Clowe can be kept for cheaper, address most of what Clarkson brings to the rink (Clowe is tougher, Clarkson is the better skater), which will leave extra $ in the bank to sign Bozak for 3rd line C. The 2nd round pick, although tough to lose, wouldn’t affect Hank’s Cup window, so is somewhat irrelevant to the win now philosophy (unless it were to be packaged in a trade of course).

  10. The Suit says:

    Pass. We should only look at less expensive free agents that can fill holes. The pillars come from drafting and trades. Clarkson isn’t a pillar.

  11. Lou says:

    Here are the choices as I see it:
    Bickel (the youngest and IMO the most talented). Will be most expensive and longest contract (and Chicago will sign him anyway).

    Clarkson. Cant get over the NJ issue and I see him regressing.

    Clowe. Injury prone and we lose a draft pick.

    Horton. Tough / scorer but injury prone and streaky.

    So answer is…we sign either Horton or Clowe short-term, save some $$ and trade MDZ for Bogossian or Pietrangelo.

    Line up:

    Hags…Step…Cally
    Kreider…Brass…Nash
    Clowe/Horton…Miller…Zuc
    Dorsett…Boyle…Powe

    Girardi…McD
    McIllrath (what are we waiting for)…Moore
    Strallman…Staal
    Xrta D man…Bogossian

    Depth is Haley…Lindberg…Fast…Pyatt…and we need another Dman

    Gone is Richards…Asham…Newberry

  12. Chief says:

    What makes all you rag fans think that clarkson’s ideal price is 3MM? He got paye 3 mill the past two seasons based on a contract negotiated before he ever score 30 goals. He is going to expect a raise, the starting offers are going to be at least 4 mill/yr and he will likely be payed upwards of 5/yr.