David Clarkson: Comeback King

David Clarkson: Comeback King

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Tonight, David Clarkson will make his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many in Leafs Nation are excited about the prospect of a power forward like Clarkson entering the lineup. Rightly so: he hits, he fights, he cycles and he can put the puck in the net.

Despite the aforementioned accolades, the most valuable contribution Clarkson will make to this team is simple: his unrelenting desire to win as a Maple Leaf. A longtime fan of his native Ontario team, Clarkson turned down a better offer from the Edmonton Oilers to make Toronto his (likely) final destination in the NHL. Yet even with the New Jersey Devils, the most reliable aspect of his game was the fire and determination he brought to the ice on a nightly basis.

Make no mistake, Clarkson is no offensive dynamo. Those expecting a surge in his career point-pace will be disappointed (although a slight increase is possible given the potential for better linemates, ice time, and a more offensive system than he ever experienced in New Jersey). There will be times where he will look awkward on the ice or a step behind the ethereal skills of linemates such as Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri. But David Clarkson will never be faulted for his effort. He will add a needed dimension of grittiness and puck possession to this team’s top nine.

Most importantly, he elevates his game when his team needs him the most. He brings a style of leadership-by-example that will hopefully serve to rally his talented teammates with a surprisingly multifaceted approach. Most fans are aware that he will throw his body with abandon and drop the gloves to protect his teammates. Yet an underrated aspect of Clarkson’s game is his ability to elevate his offensive output in dire situations to an unparalleled level:

 
AVG Shots/60 when trailing by one goal
(2010-2013)
2010-2011 Rank
2011-2012 Rank
2012-2013 Rank
David Clarkson15.48541
Justin Williams13.2761182
Alexander Ovechkin11.6828528
Jeff Carter11.4435847
Evander Kane11.3123641
Henrik Zetterberg11.13391024
Logan Couture10.8066724

Yes, you’re reading that right. Over the last three seasons, no player has directed as much rubber at the net as Clarkson has when their team is down by a goal. The only player even close to him in this regards is Justin Williams (he of the clutch game seven performances for the vaunted L.A. Kings). Clarkson places well ahead of noted offensive motors such as Alexander Ovechkin, Evander Kane and Henrik Zetterberg. Moreover, Clarkson’s consistency in this respect has also been second-to-none. He has been in the top five league-wide in this simple measurement of situational shot output for each of the last three seasons.

What does that mean for the Leafs? It means that Clarkson may not hit the scoresheet on those nights that the Phil Kessels or Joffrey Lupuls blow open the barn doors early in the game with high-percentage shooting off the rush. On those nights where Toronto has taken the early lead you will probably see Clarkson focusing on keeping the puck in the offensive zone, finishing his checks, and irritating the crap out of the opposition.

But, in those games where the Leafs fall behind and the many skilled forwards this team possesses are looking for that spark to get them going – Clarkson will be leading the way. You can be virtually guaranteed that he will be throwing everything and the kitchen sink in the direction of the other team’s net alongside his usual antics. The goals that he will get may not always be pretty, but hopefully they will come when the team needs them most.

Welcome to the Maple Leafs, David Clarkson.

433 comments
Bring the Cup Home
Bring the Cup Home

this was an amazing article.  nicely written.  if your goal was to get me pumped at the thought of what we have in david clarkson, mission accomplished!  

the stats you pulled in the chart about shots on goal when trailing by one were amazing to see and pretty unbelievable.  now i know what people mean when they say 'clarkson can put a team on his shoulders'.  not by netting 30 goals and 60+ points, cuz he won't get that......but by a rawer determination to just fucking win. 

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

This auto update on the blackberry is amazing. Just tried it on the new format. Thanks guys.

jimmyg65
jimmyg65

Nice to see Leivo stepping in and getting some games. I saw him play in the Subway series in Guelph last year and he looked better than just about anybody else on the ice. He's big, too, uses his body to get position. Not that I'm happy that Lupul's hurt again

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Michael_Traikos: "He’s very protective about family," says David Clarkson's brother. "The #Leafs have become his family now." http://t.co/UFf7UYusSQ

Dan39
Dan39

I also like how Devane was immediately sent down after running away from Patrick Bordeleau and costing the team momentum and eventually that game. You gotta teach these kids with the stick as well as the carrot. Good mgmt.

Jay31
Jay31

@Jimmy Keating Some nice goals from not so ideal angles, plus he can score on the shootout which we need

docyqx
docyqx

@Xxxxxnew I think Clarkson is one of many guys that are FAMILY on the Leafs... it's one of those intangibles that we always mention, when a team gels, chemistry and that special family protectiveness creates WINNERS

Lescott
Lescott

Can't suspend a guy when the hit is coming from directly in front of you.

docyqx
docyqx

@TheCanucksnaphook @Jmessih I thik Carlyle learned it from Burkie's time in California, Bobby Ryan and other's were given time to mature,

Randy did it with Kadri last year, "Put players in a position to succeed" has become a mantra of the entire Leafs coaching and management staff

such a change from RW's throw them under the bus ways

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

No, that's tomorrow.  I'm at work right now.  Gotta tow the company line during the week.

Dan39
Dan39

@TheCanucksnaphook @Jmessih @Dan39 No, Bords lined up next to Devane. Devane skates over to the other side and Bords chases him over there then Devane switches back again - it looked ridiculous and everyone knew that Devane was running, because Bords is a top 5 HW. 

McLeod and Bodie were always lined up together and Bodie drops the mitts only to use a back-of-jersey grip (normally reserved for officials breaking up fights) to hug his way to a loss. So disappointing, all that potential in his orangutang-reach... I've never forgiven him. 

I knew right then and there that the Leafs were losing. 

docyqx
docyqx

@TheCanucksnaphook @ProfessorRance @docyqx @Airfreshener  Obviously , Lupul got a better family doctor that's giving him advice, lol,

Dear Phook's Boss,

Due to his big toe being swollen and bruised , he had to take 2 nights off work, raise the foot and watch the Leafs Game to relieve the mental stress of not being able to work...

Doc

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

It's funny because Kessel was saying his best buds on the team were Franson and someone else, I forget who.

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

Thank God MLHS isn't overly politically correct.  Otherwise, I'd have been turfed from here long ago.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I was in Scotland a year  and  a half ago and I was invited out for Chinese food. The place was called Chinky's House, not politically correct over there, you either become Scottish or your done,  the Chinese servers had Scottish accents also, too funny, and the food was brilliant.

docyqx
docyqx

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I clean out my system so often, I've left the screws out on the access panels, lol half the time, the panel is layin against the desk...

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

OMG!!  I was amazed at how dirty the inside of my system was.  I learned a ton about how to keep things clean, though.  The fans, the heatsink, the video card, etc.  Gotta open up my system and clean out the dust and cat hair every few months.  I have a Dell XPS system which apparently is near the top of the line (spent over 2K on it back in 2011)....so I gotta know how to maintain it.

Live & learn...

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

Haha!!  Too funny!!  I crank it right up to 7 myself.  I like a thick vape session.  Thank God for the auto shutoff after 12 mins (otherwise I get too buzzed and forget it's on).

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan OMG....I love it!!...only disagreement in this household is whether we're vaping at 5 or seven......Hubby likes the taste factor at 5......I like the buzz factor at 7......lol     Think he's decided to just get another one.....nobody comes between me and my buzz.....  :)

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

Atta girl!!  Nice to know some folks have my back.

How do you like your vape thus far??  I'm lovin' it.  Gonna load up when I get home tonight.