Does anyone remember $5 million dollar man David Clarkson?
Of course you do. He was the cherry on top of Dave Nonis’ very horribly constructed Toronto Maple Leafs sundae, getting inked to a deal that paid him $1M more per season – and for three more seasons, at that – than the notoriously overpaying Boston Bruins were willing to ink Brad Marchand for.
It was also $725,000 more per season than Max Pacioretty makes.
It was awful. It is awful. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
It got the team a whopping 15 goals across two seasons and a lot of laughing and finger-pointing from other teams around the NHL before the Leafs finally managed to unload the deal on the Columbus Blue Jackets – who got exactly three games out of Clarkson before he was injured.
Now, though, he’s back… and who’s surprised that it’s against the Leafs?
Last season, the Blue Jackets saw David Clarkson in the lineup exactly three times before he was shut down for the remainder of the season – meaning that apart from that gloriously goon-ish game in which Clarkson managed to rack up 12 PIM and get himself considerably injured against the Washington Capitals, the Blue Jackets got about as much on-ice value out of the Clarkson trade as the Leafs did.
He’s been out with an unrelated lower body injury this season, but now he’ll return. Everyone cheer!
David Clarkson is expected to be available Friday vs. Toronto, per #CBJ GM Jarmo Kekalainen. He’s been sidelined with a lower-body injury.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 14, 2015
Clarkson was once heralded as a 30-goal scorer who ‘bled blue’, before people realized his goal totals had been inflated and directed all their Toronto Maple Leafs-based rage at him and his monstrously poor contract.
Translation? That guy has now had a combined seven months (give or take a week or two) to build up some hatred towards the team that all but ruined his reputation; it’s kind of awesome that his return is coming against them, but it’s also vaguely terrifying.
Two years ago today, David Clarkson jumped off the bench to fight John Scott
— Stefan Christopher (@stefanzekopitar) September 22, 2015
(I literally fear for Mark Arcobello’s life on Friday. This is the game you healthy scratch the world’s smallest centre, Babcock.)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the NHL’s teams that are inexplicably doing worse than the Leafs to start the 2015-2016 campaign; they’re one of the handful of clubs that have gone 0-3-0, whereas the Leafs managed to squeak out a pity point earlier this week to at least get themselves on the board. That could be the recipe for one of those tire fire-esque games that disintegrates into a dogpile at the opening face-off, but it could also be a chance for the Leafs to finally get on the board for real.
Some Fun Facts
- Using the money that the Leafs would have seen counted against the cap for Clarkson, the team managed to sign one year deals for FOUR DIFFERENT PLAYERS
- Those four players (Mark Arcobello, Brad Boyes, PA Parenteau, and Nick Spaling) combined for 48 goals last year. Clarkson had 5.
- Those four players also combined for 118 points last year. Clarkson had 15.
- Even if the we pretend the Leafs used Clarkson’s money to sign the two pricier free agents, instead (Daniel Winnik and Shawn Mattthias), that counts for 27 goals and 50 points.
- I think you get the theme of these fun facts.