I think we're overlooking the fact that guys like Clarkson and Sykora were one of many reasons we made the playoffs. Without them we're out 50 goals and probably some points too.
Yes, but that's also because DeBoer gave them incredible amounts of ice time throughout a good portion of the year, so that does have to be taken into account here, with the full grant that they did provide some nice production (which is the most important thing). Clarkson clearly ended up playing hurt throughout the entire playoffs. He looked crippled on some of his shifts. While you have to admire it, there were times especially in the Rangers and Kings serie, I felt his presence on the ice became a detriment where he was caught in the offensive zone or missed pucks.
Sykora was pretty close to being gassed the last 15-20 games of the year though. Even when he was scoring the occasional goal, he was negative value in other areas as he was soft along the boards, lost quite a few pucks, and also was not much of a skater, relying on Zubrus and Elias to do the dirty work in the corners and carrying the puck into the zone. Outside of the one goal in the Flyers series, I thought Sykora was our worst forward.