Devils avoid arbitration with David Clarkson, sign him to three-year deal

clarksoninthemush.jpgWhenever you see a team sign a free agent today, think of it as a slacker college student writing a 10-page research paper in a single Red Bull-laced day of desperation (not that I *cough* ever experienced such a thing). This is the final opportunity for teams to avoid ugly and uncomfortable processes like arbitration or allowing players to hit the free agent market, so there could be a deluge of signings.

The New Jersey Devils signed agitating right winger David Clarkson to a three-year deal reportedly worth $8 million overall, according to the New York Post. If that’s correct, Clarkson will register a somewhat-hefty $2.66 million cap hit.

Clarkson made $875G last season, a campaign ruined by a broken leg suffered from a Zdeno Chara slapshot Nov. 27. He missed 13 games before returning too soon, and after playing two games, went back on the shelf for 23 more. Clarkson was tied for the second-most goals on the team when he blocked Chara’s shot. He finished 11-13-24 in 46 games.

Clarkson would have become a restricted free agent tomorrow, and could have elected salary arbitration for a one-year deal that would have made him unrestricted next summer.

Sources suggest that if Clarkson had not signed, he may well have been dealt to the Leafs for defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who stands to be unrestricted after this season.

Getting your leg broken by a Zdeno Chara? Yikes.

I have to admit, when I first heard about this contract, I thought the Devils over-paid Clarkson. It’s impressive that he was second on the team in goals for a while and seemed to be on pace to topple his career-best 32 point season. That being said, is his combination of grit and moderate offensive upside rare enough to justify such an investment?

It the rumors of a Clarkson for Kaberle (and, I imagine, some draft picks) are true, then I think the Devils made a mistake. Still, it’s not safe to look at it that way; instead, Devils fans should ask themselves if Clarkson can continue that point-every-other-game pace from last year while getting under his opponents’ skin.

With 17 roster spots filled and more than $11 million in cap space, the Devils still have plenty of room to work with. We’ll keep you updated as New Jersey and the 29 other teams frantically try to improve their fortunes in the next few days.

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    Video: Gudbranson and Martin drop the gloves in spirited scrap

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    We asked earlier tonight if the bad blood between the Canucks and Leafs would spill over into tonight’s rematch. It had been pretty tame — unlike what occurred last month.

    But there were some fireworks and, as expected following the events of Nov. 5, the combatants were Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin.

    The two dropped the gloves for a heavyweight scrap during the second period, with both landing some major shots.

     

    Avalanche captain Landeskog (lower-body injury) could make upcoming road trip

    DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche awaits a face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    Placed on injured reserve earlier this week, Gabriel Landeskog may be close to returning to the Colorado Avalanche lineup.

    Out with a lower-body injury for the past eight games, including tonight’s home contest against the Dallas Stars, Landeskog reportedly skated briefly with his teammates on Saturday. Head coach Jared Bednar provided more reason for optimism on the condition of the Colorado captain when he spoke to the media.

    “He’s been working in the gym the last couple of days,” Bednar told the Denver Post.

    “He’s been progressing. He feels better again today. He skated slightly on his own there for a few minutes, and that seemed to go well. I’ve already talked to (trainer Matt Sokolowski) about that. I would expect he’s a guy who’s going to continue to move forward here and probably be on the road trip with us.”

    The Avalanche could certainly use their leader in the lineup.

    They sit tied for last in the West with the Arizona Coyotes and Bednar, earlier this week, ripped his team for a lack of intensity following a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.

    The Avalanche begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday, as they face the Predators.

    The Predators coughed up a three-goal lead in OT loss to Devils

    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14:  Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators stretches during a timeout against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on October 14, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images)
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Michael Cammalleri‘s second goal of the game with 18 seconds remaining on the clock in overtime capped New Jersey’s comeback from three goals down in the third period and gave the Devils a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

    Taylor Hall took a pass from Cammalleri and brought the puck up the right side into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 break, passed it back to Cammalleri cutting up the middle and he fired it past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

    Cammalleri started the Devils’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit after two as he fired a rebound into an open net 25 seconds into the third.

    Andy Greene pulled New Jersey within one 30 seconds later and Adam Henrique tied it with a power-play goal through Rinne’s legs with 7:23 remaining.

    Hall had a goal and two assists, Travis Zajac also had two assists and Green added one for the Devils, who were 0-4-2 in their previous six road games. Keith Kincaid stopped 38 shots to improve to 3-1-2.

    Kevin Fiala had two goals and P.K. Subban and Roman Josi also scored for the Predators, who fell to 9-1-2 at home. Rinne, a five-time All-Star, gave up five goals on 22 shots.

    New Jersey evened its record to 6-6 in games beyond regulation, and Nashville fell to 0-4.

    Fiala gave the Predators a 1-0 lead when Matt Irwin‘s point shot appeared to bounce off him into the net with 3:46 left in the first.

    Hall tied it 1:17 later when he swatted a rebound out of the air past Rinne.

    Nashville went back ahead on Subban’s wrist shot from the slot with 39 seconds left in the opening period. Five of Subban’s six goals have come at home.

    Fiala’s second goal increased the Predators lead to 3-1 on a tic-tac-toe play from Craig Smith and Mike Ribeiro at 6:02 of the second period.

    Josi extended the Predators’ advantage to 4-1 when he blasted a one-timer from just inside the center of blue line past Kinkaid with 5:29 left in the second.

    Oilers lose Nurse for the ‘long term’ with a lower-body injury

    Edmonton Oilers v Arizona Coyotes
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    Tough news for the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

    The Oilers have lost sophomore defenseman Darnell Nurse for the ‘long term’ with a lower-body injury, coach Todd McLellan told reporters. In 25 games this season, the 21-year-old Nurse has three goals and five points.

    Another update is expected at a later time from general manager Peter Chiarelli, although it was speculated in the Edmonton Sun that the injury could be a broken foot. McLellan said the injury occurred against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

    From the Edmonton Sun:

    With Nurse going on injured reserve, Mark Fayne, who was on waivers a week ago but was recalled when Eric Gryba was hurt in practice, will play his first game since injuring his knee against Carolina Oct. 18. He only played 2:27 in that game. Fayne will likely play with Oscar Klefbom. Matt Benning will be with Andrej Sekera.

    The Oilers also recalled defenceman Dillon Simpson from the Bakersfield Condors as a seventh guy. Brandon Davidson (shoulder) is skating and practising but is a week to 10 days from playing. He could find his way into the top six when deemed ready, too.

    The Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. These two teams are tied with 28 points in the Pacific Division. The winner tonight takes over sole possession of second in the division.