If the Edmonton Oilers are hoping that David Clarkson is available to sign as an unrestricted free-agent this summer, they better not get their hopes up to high.
According to Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal, the New Jersey Devils are “working hard” to re-sign Clarkson to a long-term deal that would keep him with the organization for the foreseeable future.
A power forward of sorts, Clarkson is the exact type of player the Oilers need to insert into their top two lines. Standing at 6’1″ and 200 pounds, the 29-year old plays a gritty style that includes dropping the gloves, complimented by a smooth offensive side. This past year Clarkson scored 15 goals and 24 points in all 48 games for the Devils to go with 78 penalty minutes. Last season he scored a career high 30 times en route to a 46 point campaign in 80 games played while racking up 138 PIMs. To put it mildly, he is exactly what the Oilers have been missing.
But the Devils have their sight’s set on re-signing Clarkson well before the free agent period begins in early July. Devils’ GM Lou Lamoriello has already told the media that he and Clarkson’s agent have begun discussions on a new deal along with the club’s two other key free agents in Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Lamoriello stated that all three deals “have to be done” before July 5th to avoid losing any of the three players for nothing, like they did with Zach Parise last summer.
Clarkson is coming off a three-year deal worth $8 million or $2.66 annually. It’s safe to say that he will garner a nice raise from this contract and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him land a 6-year deal in the neighborhood of $30 million.
Should he make it to free agency, expect Clarkson to be signed quickly, likely on the first day. If the Oilers want him in their lineup they’ll have to act swiftly and fork over the cash, providing they even get the chance.