The New Jersey Devils had hoped to re-sign gritty forward David Clarkson before he hit the open market in the annual free agent frenzy at noon on July 5. However, according to Tom Gulitti’s Fire and Ice Blog, Clarkson turned down an offer by the club over the weekend and will begin talking to other perspective teams tomorrow.
As per the new collective bargaining agreement which ended last season’s lockout, teams are allowed to interview the unrestricted free agents they are interested in prior to the noon deadline. During this two-day window of opportunity, teams may talk but not ink an individual to a deal. Players can only be officially signed once the market bell rings at high noon on Friday.
Pat Morris, Clarkson’s agent, said that the Devils had made an offer over the weekend which the Toronto native decided to pass on. He did not disclose details, but he did say that the offer was respectable.
General manager Lou Lamoriello did not seem optimistic as to re-signing the 29-year-old winger, saying on the Fire and Ice Blog that he “didn’t know at this point. We’ll certainly talk. I’ll leave it at that.”
Clarkson’s three-year deal, in which he earned $2 million the first two years and $3 million for last season, expired on June 30. After scoring 30 goals for the first time in his career in 2011-12, Clarkson started off this lockout-shortened year on fire. However, in the second half he couldn’t buy a goal.
Fans love Clarkson’s toughness, and he is one of the rare players who possess the ability to fight as well as score. He is a true team player and by all accounts a wonderful human being. He doesn’t just talk the charity talk. Clarkson volunteers his money and his time, working with children in Newark as well as his hometown of Toronto. He is well liked and respected from the top of the organization on down.
Even with all of his qualities, though, he is still not worth more than the Devils are paying him now. He and his agent may have delusions of grandeur because of one 30-goal season, but they really need to stop and take a reality check.
The salary cap is dropping for all the teams. Many clubs are tightening their belts and letting players go who they otherwise would have kept on or made an offer to. If another organization is willing to pay through the nose for him, than so be it.
It would be in the best interests of the Devils to look elsewhere. If you are going to spend the money, then spend it on a higher caliber player.