Leading up to July 5th, the first day of NHL free agency, we will be profiling various free agents that we believe the Predators could or should pursue. Today we start with New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson…
Position: Right Wing
2012-13 Stats: 48 GP, 15 G, 9 A, 24 PTS, -6
2011-12 Stats: 80 GP, 30 G, 16 A, 46 PTS, -8
Previous Contract: 3 years, $8 million
Projected Cap Number: From $4-5 million
Why the Preds should pursue: David Clarkson certainly doesn’t fit the “dynamic forward” mold, but he is a valuable power forward that can put the puck in the net. Over time, Clarkson has evolved from an agitator who can contribute to a 20-30 goal scorer who can get under the opposition’s skin. Not only did Clarkson score 30 goals in 2011-12, but he’s been a heart-and-soul player for the Devils in recent years. Clarkson would make the Predators tougher to play against, which is an area that needs to be addressed this off-season.
Why the Preds shouldn’t pursue: The asking price may be the biggest issue. If Clarkson demands closer to $5 million than $4 million, Predators GM David Poile would have to think long and hard about doling out Patric Hornqvist-like money to a similar player. Then again, by the time July 5th arrives the trade market could be picked over and Poile may be a little more inclined to get a forward via free agency. The Preds could definitely use his feistiness and net presence, but at what cost?
Where he would fit: It’s hard to say whether Clarkson would be a first, second or third-line player on Nashville’s roster, mostly because it would depend on which forwards he gains the most chemistry with. But you can bet Hornqvist and Clarkson would be on different lines – including the power play – to create net-front havoc on a more frequent basis.