As the deadline for Devils' president and general manager Lou Lamoriello to get under the cap quickly approaches, several players names have been thrown into the fire of possible cap casualties.
Amid the usual Brian Rolston or Colin White discussion, one name has flown under the radar but presents the most intriguing situation. David Clarkson, the Devils' gritty power-forward, could be the biggest draw for teams looking to poach quality talent at a low price.
For a look at the reasons why Clarkson could end up traded, read after the jump!
I don't want to see Clarkson in another team's jersey. I like the skill set he brings to the ice. He's a solid two-way forward who's not afraid to block shots or screen the opposing goalie. If players are taking runs at Zach Parise or Ilya Kovalchuk, it's Clarkson who drops the gloves. Plus, he can score as well, making him more than a glorified goon.
But Clarkson also carries some drawbacks, mainly within his contract. The Devils re-signed the right-winger to a three-year, $8 million contract this summer, which carries an average cap hit of $2.6 million. With the Devils sitting about $3 million over the cap, trading Clarkson would eliminate a significant portion of that total. When looking at all the potential trade pieces, Clarkson is the youngest and, based on past statistics, has significant upside and comes at a fairly reasonable price. Those reasons make him a natural subject for trade rumors.
The news on who will continue to come, as Lamoriello will need to assign players to waivers in order to clear them before the Wednesday deadline. While I hope the Devils don't have to trade any players, I really hope Clarkson remains with the team. He's the only Devil who crashes the net and scores dirty goals. He's not afraid to back down from any challenge. Sometimes he's not the best skater, and he falls in love with his wraparound at times, but he gives the Devils grit and determination. Not only that, but he loves the organization, and was quoted several times throughout last season and this summer saying that he loved the Devils and wanted to remain with the organization.
Sports is a business, and it may come down to moving Clarkson to get cap room. I don't blame the other teams; he's a player that Devils may have fielded several questions about. When all is said and done, don't be surprised if Clarkson found his way onto the trade block during this process. In a crowded group, his name presents the most intriguing option.
David Clarkson Photo Credits: Gregory Smith/AP Photo and Adam Mills/The Star Ledger