However, I think many Wings fans are hoping Holland will diverge from the beaten path and take a slightly more adventurous route this time around. A take a seat at the table and roll the dice type of move.
It’s not that I don’t feel the Wings should do everything in their power to get Brunner and Cleary signed to new deals; it’s that with all the talk of the Wings building for the future, adding David Clarkson would make a bold statement to the rest of the league that the Wings are serious about making another Stanley Cup run right now.
Clarkson’s best year as a pro came during his 2011-2012 campaign with the Devils when he tallied 30 goals in the regular season. That year Clarkson also played a critical role in the Devils’ march to the Stanley Cup Finals.
It’s well-known that the Eastern Conference plays a more rough and tumble brand of hockey, and the Wings are now division rivals with the most physical team in the NHL. Detroit has an abundance of speed and skill, but lack bigger bodies up front who can get in on the forecheck, turn pucks over, and finish.
David Clarkson can do all of the above. At 6’1/200lbs, Clarkson might not be as imposing a specimen as Milan Lucic, yet he definitely plays a big man’s game.
Clarkson plays with an edge and irritates opponents with that same in-your-face style of game that Justin Abdelkader brings to the rink. However, Clarkson offers the added benefit of being a right-handed shooting 30-goal scorer.
Yet, Clarkson isn’t the only Unrestricted Free Agent that will interest the Wings. This group might not be as impressive as last year’s crop, but there’s still a lot of talent on the market, including: Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla, and Bryan Bickell.
But, give me a moment to explain why the Wings should target Clarkson over these players:
- Nathan Horton is a tremendous hockey player, and maybe the most talented player on the UFA list. However, you’re taking a big risk signing Horton because of his injury history.
- Jarome Iginla‘s stock has fallen after a disappointing playoff performance with the Penguins this year. Still a good player, but has clearly lost a step.
- Bryan Bickell is number two on my list of free agents the Wings should pursue. He’s not as much of an offensive threat as Clarkson, but he’s big, physical, and has shown a knack for chipping in with timely goals.
Unfortunately, the Wings are going to have a lot of competition for David Clarkson’s services. A team like the Toronto Maple Leafs (Clarkson’s hometown) will undoubtedly make a huge push to lure him to T.O.
Yet, one thing all of these teams cannot offer Clarkson is the opportunity to play on the wing beside one of the greatest talents in the game today… Mr. Pavel Datsyuk.
Now that Datsyuk has let it be known that he is going to be in Detroit for at least 4 more seasons, the chance to share the ice with Pavel will be a huge plus for potential big name UFA’s like Clarkson.
I can’t think of a better way to start this summer off in Hockeytown then by getting David Clarkson in a Red Wings’ jersey immediately.
Let’s do this Kenny!