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devilsrule33

How Bad Has Toronto's Offseason Been?

30 posts in this topic

A breakdown of one of the strangest off-seasons by a team that I can remember. And it was good enough to rip up their GM's old contract with 3 years remaining, and give him a brand new 5-year deal. That's after 1 year on the job with another's GM's team.

 

July 5: The Leafs sign free agent David Clarkson to a seven-year contract worth $36.75 million

 

The rationale: Clarkson is a former 30-goal scorer who was arguably the most sought-after free agent in this year’s class. More importantly, he’s a prototypical Randy Carlyle player who fights almost as frequently as he scores.

 

Yeah, but … He’s 29, so his best years are likely already behind him. And his best years weren’t all that good — he has only topped 40 points once in his career. Did we mention the part where the Leafs gave him seven years? Although if it makes you feel any better, GM Dave Nonis is on record saying he doesn’t really care about the last few. (This should not make you feel better.)

 

How bizarre? Let’s go through some of the reviews for this one, movie-trailer style:

“ … if Toronto wasn't happy with Grabovski making $5 million a year to produce the way he did, how long is it going to take for the city to turn on Clarkson when he's making more than $5 million and scoring 15 goals for the next seven years?” —Adam Gretz, CBSSports.com

“Dave Nonis (will be) paying David Clarkson an exorbitant amount of money to play hockey for his team despite Clarkson not being all that great.” —Dave Lozo, Backhand Shelf

“The money is unnerving, but the term is absolutely frightening.” —Alan Muir, Sports Illustrated

“This has regret written all over it.” —Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Yahoo Sports

 

Bizarro-meter reading: [Stands amid smoking rubble where bizarro-meter used to be.]

 

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/69866/how-bad-has-torontos-offseason-been

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The worst part is no more Pure Hockey commercials.

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I still can't believe Clarkson got that contract.  Amazing what one 30+ goal season can do for a player's perceived value (just ask Scott Gomez).  I know he's a rich man now (not that he was poor before), but I wonder if Clarkson has said to himself, in moments of clarity, "My GOD what have I done?  How am I going to live up to this?!"

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Nice read, DR33. James Mirtle, who I find to be one of the best writers, has caught serious flack for being critical of the Leafs' offseason.

If not for Toronto's crazy luck last year, no way Nonis gets re-signed. Tri's thread about how success ruins teams sure looks accurate in this case

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I still can't believe Clarkson got that contract.  Amazing what one 30+ goal season can do for a player's perceived value (just ask Scott Gomez).  I know he's a rich man now (not that he was poor before), but I wonder if Clarkson has said to himself, in moments of clarity, "My GOD what have I done?  How am I going to live up to this?!"

 

I still say the contract Holik got from the Rangers blows the Gomez and Clarkson contracts away.

 

Who else in the right mind even in pre-cap hockey would sign Holik to $9 million a year for 5 years?

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I still can't believe Clarkson got that contract.  Amazing what one 30+ goal season can do for a player's perceived value (just ask Scott Gomez).  I know he's a rich man now (not that he was poor before), but I wonder if Clarkson has said to himself, in moments of clarity, "My GOD what have I done?  How am I going to live up to this?!"

 

I don't know if Leafs fans even know how Clarkson plays. There are all these comparisons to Wendel Clark, which is so unfair to David. They are nothing alike. Every team would want a David Clarkson on it, but not for that contract. He is going to fail the eye test after 1 game for the fanbase. "This isn't Wendel Clark at all." The funniest part is he took less money to go to Toronto.

 

Nice read, DR33. James Mirtle, who I find to be one of the best writers, has caught serious flack for being critical of the Leafs' offseason.

If not for Toronto's crazy luck last year, no way Nonis gets re-signed. Tri's thread about how success ruins teams sure looks accurate in this case

 

The re-signing made no sense. As Sean McIdoe pointed out, the negotiations took 15 minutes, which always means someone is negotiating against themselves. He had 3 years left on his contract already. He didn't make any moves last season (so if anything, you are rewarding Brian Burke for a job he did after firing him), and the team that made the playoffs last year was the most outplayed team to make the playoffs in over a decade. 

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And they just gave Mark Fraser almost 1.3 million for one year.

Edited by Jerzey Devil

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And they just gave Mark Fraser almost 1.3 million for one year.

That's really not the worst thing ever. We're paying Harrold almost that much to be our #7.

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I don't know if Leafs fans even know how Clarkson plays. There are all these comparisons to Wendel Clark, which is so unfair to David. They are nothing alike. Every team would want a David Clarkson on it, but not for that contract. He is going to fail the eye test after 1 game for the fanbase. "This isn't Wendel Clark at all." The funniest part is he took less money to go to Toronto.

 

This is what I said.  Even Clarkson's last name, sadly and oddly, adds to this "like Wendel Clark" illusion.  Clark was picked #1 overall in his draft, and was an incredible mix of offensive talent and grit and toughness.  Clarkson at best is a very poor man's version of Clark...Clark scored 330 goals in 793 career games...he played much of his career in the Live Puck Era, but even so, Clarkson clearly isn't going to be that kind of a player.  If the Leaf faithful aren't prepared to let Clarkson just be Clarkson and not some second coming of Wendel Clark, this is going to be a disappointment for everyone involved up there.

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This is what I said.  Even Clarkson's last name, sadly and oddly, adds to this "like Wendel Clark" illusion.  Clark was picked #1 overall in his draft, and was an incredible mix of offensive talent and grit and toughness.  Clarkson at best is a very poor man's version of Clark...Clark scored 330 goals in 793 career games...he played much of his career in the Live Puck Era, but even so, Clarkson clearly isn't going to be that kind of a player.  If the Leaf faithful aren't prepared to let Clarkson just be Clarkson and not some second coming of Wendel Clark, this is going to be a disappointment for everyone involved up there.

 

This is why I worry for him. I like the guy a lot, I just don't think he's worth the money. And putting things like "Wendel Clarkson" in the newspaper and giving him #71 in reference to Clark's #17 is only going to add to the pressure.

Edited by Devil Dan 56

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I still say the contract Holik got from the Rangers blows the Gomez and Clarkson contracts away.

 

Who else in the right mind even in pre-cap hockey would sign Holik to $9 million a year for 5 years?

 

At least Holik had a couple years where he semi-resembled a #1 center (though those years are when we were bounced from the playoffs early and he did nothing in the postseason).

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At least Holik had a couple years where he semi-resembled a #1 center (though those years are when we were bounced from the playoffs early and he did nothing in the postseason).

 

And those years were about 5 years before he was signed to that contract with the Rangers.  That was Sather's first big signing and he wanted to make a splash.  Good for us but bad for him it was a huge dud.

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And those years were about 5 years before he was signed to that contract with the Rangers.  That was Sather's first big signing and he wanted to make a splash.  Good for us but bad for him it was a huge dud.

 

As bad as you think that deal was and as dumb as you think Sather was for giving it, remember that Lou was offering a 5-year deal to Holik worth around $40 million to stay.

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At least Holik had a couple years where he semi-resembled a #1 center (though those years are when we were bounced from the playoffs early and he did nothing in the postseason).

 

That was rough...242 regular season games from '96-'99 (3 seasons), 79 goals, 112 assists, 191 points.  Playoffs in that time frame:  22 GP, 2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points.  Problem with this was Bobby really wanted to be "The Man" offensively during that time.  He was much better in the next three seasons come playoff time...he didn't score a crazy amount of goals (13 in 54 GP), but he was simply better and more fitted to be being a physical banger who could pitch in and be a complementary-type on offense...he is not a guy who you want your offense going through. 

 

Problem with the Rangers is that they never really seemed to know what they wanted him to be or how to use him (the Sather way:  acquire the shinier names in FA and then figure out how to fit them within a team concept later).  Devils had their way of getting the best out of Holik, all-around. 

 

dr33, I think it was $35 million over 5 years.  I think Dallas offered him a lot too, IIRC.  That would have been a lot of money for Holik, but he had become a great complementary player for the Devils at that point...he could do whatever was asked of him.  I think he would've continued to be successful (though a bit overpaid) as a Devil. 

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976

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And they just gave Mark Fraser almost 1.3 million for one year.

 

He earned that and probably should have gotten more from them.

 

As for Clarkson, he better put alot of time in during the offseason on his passing, or he's going to blow their minds.

Edited by maxpower

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I think Toronto was actually the second biggest offer to Holik lol, but yeah we had a substantial one as well. I still laugh at the whole schpiel about how the Rangers' DVD presentation won him over. That goes right up there with Mike Hampton and the Colorado school system in terms of lame excuses to justify a money grab haha

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The Holik contract is comparable. At least four teams drove the bidding up. In Clarkson's case, it was down to 2 teams. He'll be a good addition for the Leafs. The problem is the length. All GMs overpay. Even the best. The more perplexing move was trading for Bernier when they had Reimer. They gave away a solid player.

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The Holik contract is comparable. At least four teams drove the bidding up. In Clarkson's case, it was down to 2 teams. He'll be a good addition for the Leafs. The problem is the length. All GMs overpay. Even the best. The more perplexing move was trading for Bernier when they had Reimer. They gave away a solid player.

 

In bold:  he may not be, mostly because I don't think Leaf fans are going to be fair or realistic with their expectations.  He should not be mentioned in the same sentence with Wendel Clark.

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I feel bad for Clarkson, I really do (as bad as you can for a guy getting paid big bucks to play a game, I guess).  Fans like us, the ones who actually know the sport and pay attention, know what to expect from Clarkson.

 

But it's the business and casual fans that are really going to tear into him, when all they've been hearing all summer is that he's the "second coming of Wendel Clark".

I mean, the fans had pictures of Kessel's face in the urinals not too long ago when he "wasn't living up to expectations".  I can only imagine how bad Clarkson is going to get it if he doesn't score 30 goals once in the duration of that contract.  And I don't imagine Clarkson as a guy who thinks "I'm getting paid, screw what these fans think" (a la Gomez).

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How long after watching him falling all over the ice tripping over the blue line will they start calling him Clarktard, we will see how much of a fluke that 30 goal season was. My money is he scores early in the first game making him the next Clark, then falls off the map because that Toronto plays a different game then us. But good for him they were giving the money so he took it!

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re: Holik; HOI can probably give you more accuracy but according to the book Money Players, Holik was absolutely set on the Rangers and set the contract that he got. Sather actually tried to lower it and Holik said no. He wanted the Rangers and nobody else.

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It had nothing to do with the DVD thing Hasan.

 

Holik and I have had this discussion many many times - I wish we still had the podcast - but he had grown a little tired of the organization in NJ, especially the arbitration case which was well documented, etc. The NYR was his first choice not because it was the NYR and he wanted to stick it to Lou, but because he really liked the area. His daughter was just about to start school at the time and he had just built a house next to Daneyko in North Caldwell. That house, I believe if I'm not mistaken, was finished in '99. He didn't want to move.

 

Now when the NYR called the day of, yes they gave him a whole presentation, including the Tiffany Big Crystal Apple, and yadadada. The Maple Leafs made a great pitch too, and Bobby was really really close to signing there - in fact TML had the best offer at the moment, until Bobby went back to the NYR and said essentially if you hit X, I'm yours. The NYR said no problem. Mind you, inside of the contract, they also provided Bobby with other perks like a luxury box. Living in NJ, he actually took NJTransit to a lot of home games if I'm not mistaken.

 

In terms of the way they take care of players, the NYR is first-rate. At the time anyway. (And take your Devil blinders off here people)...At the time, I remember Holik asking the NYR for a couple of tshirts and hats for some family, and they sent the equivalent of a new wardrobe. These huge boxes for him. Now, the Devils would have asked for a credit card number and would have given him a small discount. When he was in NJ, he called them a country club compartively - and they are. it's not a bad thing if the team is good and the atmosphere is good (like it is now). Despite his tumultous time in NY, and his lawsuit against the NYR after he left, he has nothing bad to say about his time there. He really liked playing there despite the not so good teams.

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Clarkson is going to be fine.  I don't think you understand how long it has been since the Leafs have had Good Ontario Boys on the team.  The fact that Wendel Clark - yeah he had some good years, but ultimately is not a great player (who reveres Gerard Gallant in Detroit?) - is the guy to live up to says it all.  Clarkson will hit and fight and score a few goals and the people who would complain about his contract will complain about it, but Joe Leaf Fan will like Clarkson and wish they had more guys like him on the team.  And he'll get to talk with Don Cherry on HNIC all the time.

Edited by Triumph

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Clarkson is going to be fine.  I don't think you understand how long it has been since the Leafs have had Good Ontario Boys on the team.  The fact that Wendel Clark - yeah he had some good years, but ultimately is not a great player (who reveres Gerard Gallant in Detroit?) - is the guy to live up to says it all.  Clarkson will hit and fight and score a few goals and the people who would complain about his contract will complain about it, but Joe Leaf Fan will like Clarkson and wish they had more guys like him on the team.  And he'll get to talk with Don Cherry on HNIC all the time.

 

Oh the lovefest has already begun with Cherry and Clarkson. Enjoy

Edited by devilsrule33

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In bold:  he may not be, mostly because I don't think Leaf fans are going to be fair or realistic with their expectations.  He should not be mentioned in the same sentence with Wendel Clark.

 

That cannot be controlled due to Clarkson returning home and admitting Clark was someone he idolized. Of course, he pales in comparison. However, no one can question his work ethic. He's never been the best skater. A former lacrosse player who worked his tail off. In Toronto, expectations will be unrealistic. Clarkson can aid their power play and his style is a perfect fit. I wonder about his durability. He's tough as nails but the way he plays is similar to Callahan. I don't expect him to last either.

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