David Clarkson started the season on an incredibly prolific scoring run, but has cooled down as the New Jersey Devils offense struggles. In the last year of his contract, and coming off the best season of his career, Clarkson’s days in Newark could be numbered. As such, the Devils should seriously consider trading their grinder-turner-scorer.
Clarkson will obviously draw some interest as a free agent. Though he was once known as a grinder and a fighter, the Devils have restricted his role as an enforcer because of the value he has in the top-six mix as a forward. With the production he’s been able to bring the Devils over the last two years, the market price for Clarkson will likely be more than he ‘s worth (see Zach Parise‘s contract for proof).
The New Jersey Devils will not overpay for David Clarkson’s services. Lou Lamoriello knows he has a grinder with a scoring touch in his top six, and that Clarkson is likely best served as a third liner. The Devils lack the depth to keep Clarkson from playing with their most talented offensive weapons. His numbers, quite simply, are inflated for his value.
If the Devils trade Clarkson now, they won’t need to worry about signing him to a deal he doesn’t truly deserve. As important as he was to last season’s success, and this year’s early run to the top of the conference, he lacks long-term value that he is likely going to receive as a free agent.
Maybe cutting ties with Clarkson before he gets offers from other teams is in the best interest of the Devils. While the Devils should be looking to add at the NHL trade deadline, moving Clarkson may make the most sense for the future of the franchise.