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.]