I recently chimed in on who my pick would be for the New Jersey Devils next captain. At the time I believed that Bryce Salvador should be the one chosen as successor to Zach Parise. I may have softened my stance a little bit. After careful consideration, David Clarkson has emerged as another top candidate for Devils captain and not surprisingly he has been right in front of our faces all along.
Clarkson has been one of New Jersey’s most active players this summer both on and off the ice both with charities and league politics. None of this should come as a surprise because nothing is different this summer from any other off-season. This biggest difference is that Clarkson himself is coming off a career year offensively and people are starting to pay more attention and deservedly so.
Every summer the former Devils tough guy turned sniper spends his summers working with various charities all around the world. Several years ago he team up with his old team the Kitchener Rangers to form “Clarky’s Kids.” The organization works with very sick children in the Ontario area. They also raise funds that aid in the support of local families and siblings dealing with a child that has cancer. He has also teamed up with other celebrities and athletes to raise money for cancer research.
Clarkson is the Devils player representative and has been attending the labor talks between the NHL and the NHLPA. Sitting in on these types of negotiations are not for the faint of heart. Again, not a surprise. He is a very intelligent human being. Clarkson has always been well spoken and highly articulate when speaking with the media. He comes across as a natural leader both vocally and physically.
In this past Spring’s conference semi-finals against the Philadelphia Flyers, Clarkson was by far the most composed. The Devils decided as a team to let cooler heads prevail at all costs. This had been an area of concern for Clarkson in the past. Not so this time round.
Philadelphia tried to goad Clarkson into taking a penalty nearly every time he was on the ice, but the 28-year-old calmly skated away. That is no easy task for a player that has averaged nearly 140 penalty minutes a year since breaking into the league. His discipline and focus was instrumental in New Jersey winning that series so easily.
Now we come to find out that Clarkson played with a fractured foot throughout the entire playoffs. He played in all 24 games, collecting 12 points (3g 9a). All three of his goals were game winners. Again, another true testament to his leadership qualities.
The next Devils captain has to be an individual that is not only a good hockey player and a good leader, but they must also be a great person. David Clarkson is all of the above and more. He definitely deserves to be in the conversation when it comes time to choose the next player to wear the “C” on his jersey.
If and when we see hockey this season, head coach Pete Deboer will have no shortage of potential captains on his team. This won’t make Deboer’s choice any easier though. It simply guarantee’s that the next captain of the Devils will be a good one, deserving of the role and hopefully he sticks around for more than a season.
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