Everything that could have gone wrong for David Clarkson in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs seemingly did go wrong. He missed the first ten games of the season thanks to a suspension. He then missed a big chunk of time with injury as the Leafs faded from the middle of the Eastern Conference playoffs to one of the ten worst records in the NHL. Now Clarkson and the Leafs are ready to put all that behind them.
“He’s a better player than (last year’s results),” team president Brendan Shanahan told the Toronto Sun. “I expect a big improvement from him. Anything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, right from the start.”
Clarkson acknowledged how rough the 2013-14 was for him. “From top to bottom, that was something I’ve never been through. Suspended, injured and to come back injured again trying to play … it was just a nightmare. You do what you have to in life. I knew what I had to do, get back (to positive habits). That’s how you come out of it.”
Clarkson signed a seven-year deal worth more than $36 million in the summer of 2013, and the contract was immediately panned as way too much money and term for a 30 year old winger who played most of his career on a bottom six line. Both Clarkson and the Leafs are putting that talk behind them though in hopes to prove the doubters wrong this coming season.