Toronto Sun compares David Clarkson to player that retired at age 33

Cam Charron
July 05 2013 09:28PM


via Twitter

There's something problematic about the Toronto Sun's Wendel Clark comparison of newest Maple Leaf acquisition David Clarkson. While I don't dispute that Clarkson is a good player that's tough, can score goals, and will be a positive player for the Leafs for two seasons, the Leafs had better hope that Clarkson is much more durable than Wendel.

Clark played his last NHL game when he was 33 years old and 191 days. The Leafs signed Clarkson until he is 36 years old and 92 days. Is three years much of a difference? Well, it depends on how Clarkson performs in the latter part of the contract.

Just for a frame of reference, here is how Wendel Clark aged:

  Goals/82 Shots/GP Sh%
Before Age 29 36.1 3.42 12.87%
After Age 29 30.8 2.96 12.69%


  Goals/82 Shots/GP Sh%
Before Age 30 36.2 3.37 13.11%
After Age 30 28.8 2.84 12.38%


  Goals/82 Shots/GP Sh%
Before Age 31 36.4 3.02 14.67%
After Age 31 25.1 2.66 11.48%

(via Hockey Reference)

When you look at it in expanded terms, you see that Clarkson is a guy whose aging becomes more drastic with every season. Clarkson is headed into his 29-year-old season, and if he loses 15% of his scoring rate per 82 games like Wendel did, he'll drop from 18.7 goals per 82 so far in his career down to 15.9 goals per 82.

So while people were rationalizing Clarkson as definitely not being a 30-goal scorer today, Steve Simmons called him "18-to-25" but there's reason to believe that even that projection is optimistic if you look ahead three or four years into this contract.

Frankly, Wendel Clark didn't age well, and hockey players typically peak in point scoring between ages 24 and 27. Basically, Clarkson is on the wrong half of his career to give a seven-year contract to, and when Clarkson doesn't live up to the expectations set for him by the Toronto Sun, I wonder what they'll blame.

The captain? Leadership?

A lot can happen, but there isn't any evidence to suggest this is a very good bet other than a general faith people seem to be putting on Dave Nonis. The Leafs spent a lot of money on intangibles today, and they may have been better served fiddling around on Hockey Reference for a half hour.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Brandon
July 05 2013, 09:55PM
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*removed by moderator*

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#2 AC
July 05 2013, 10:04PM
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This whole day this site has been kind of a downer. Sure you might not agree with some of the moves made by Nonis but try lightening up a bit, huh?

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#3 Matt
July 05 2013, 10:09PM
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Do you guys have a Nation Network style guide or anything? There's a persistent error I keep seeing all over the sites, and now that it's in a headline, I can't help but say something.

If you're referring to a person, it's "who", not "that". Wendel Clark is a person. He is a person who retired at 33. He's not an object that retired at 33.

Sorry to grammar nazi you, this is just a dumb pet peeve of mine.

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#4 Jay
July 05 2013, 11:44PM
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AC wrote:

This whole day this site has been kind of a downer. Sure you might not agree with some of the moves made by Nonis but try lightening up a bit, huh?

No one's making you read it. There are a bunch of other Leafs blogs out there.

As for the post: Even if Clarkson doesn't end up producing, Leafs Nation will find other reasons to love him. All he has to do is punch a few faces and the mouthbreathers will be contented.

The blame for not making the playoffs will probably be laid on Reimer/Bernier or Phaneuf or something.

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#5 firenonis
July 06 2013, 05:08AM
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@AC

Nonis has not made one single good off season move. He makes roster choices by being influenced by a facepunching neaderthal of a coach. He extended two facepunchers that can't play hockey, but he hasn't extended quality RFAs like Kadri, Franson and Gardiner leaving them at risk to offer sheets. He traded for a goalie that is more expensive and clearly worse backup then Scrivens looking at SV%. And worse he retained a massive amount of salary that forced the buyout of quality players like Komisarek and Grabovski. He traded for a Bolland who looks beaten up and is in decline especially his advanced statistics. What is worse is he used valuable assets in 2nd round picks to acquire him. He gutted the depth of the team by getting rid of Frattin, Hamilton and Macarthur. He overpaid for Clarkson when Macarthur was available at half the price and length. He pisses me off on defence by bringing a 7th D in Brennan who is not even an Ontario player. And on top of that refuses to fix the most obvious problem with the leafs in the lack of a top 4 shutdown defender and still giving ice time to Liles. But instead he buys out Grabovsk who is the main reason the leafs were in the playoffs and without him the leafs are going to fall considerable this year. And worst of all he brought back Bozak who is the weakest link in entire leaf lineup.

There is nothing to be positive about. The changes Nonis made will worsen team Fenwick and do nothing to improve team PDO. The only good thing about this is Carlyle will get fired next year but at least the leafs have their 1st round pick which should be good.

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#6 firenonis
July 06 2013, 05:08AM
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@AC

Nonis has not made one single good off season move. He makes roster choices by being influenced by a facepunching neaderthal of a coach. He extended two facepunchers that can't play hockey, but he hasn't extended quality RFAs like Kadri, Franson and Gardiner leaving them at risk to offer sheets. He traded for a goalie that is more expensive and clearly worse backup then Scrivens looking at SV%. And worse he retained a massive amount of salary that forced the buyout of quality players like Komisarek and Grabovski. He traded for a Bolland who looks beaten up and is in decline especially his advanced statistics. What is worse is he used valuable assets in 2nd round picks to acquire him. He gutted the depth of the team by getting rid of Frattin, Hamilton and Macarthur. He overpaid for Clarkson when Macarthur was available at half the price and length. He pisses me off on defence by bringing a 7th D in Brennan who is not even an Ontario player. And on top of that refuses to fix the most obvious problem with the leafs in the lack of a top 4 shutdown defender and still giving ice time to Liles. But instead he buys out Grabovsk who is the main reason the leafs were in the playoffs and without him the leafs are going to fall considerable this year. And worst of all he brought back Bozak who is the weakest link in entire leaf lineup.

There is nothing to be positive about. The changes Nonis made will worsen team Fenwick and do nothing to improve team PDO. The only good thing about this is Carlyle will get fired next year but at least the leafs have their 1st round pick which should be good.

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#7 BCLeafFan
July 06 2013, 07:31AM
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As a response to the Leaf fans who are in mourning today, I would simply say, "And that's why they play the games." Could we look back at last season and ask ourselves honestly if we expected the Leafs to take the step up that they did? I know that I sure didn't. And that's why they play the games. From year to year, players change; coaches change; teams change. The Leafs certainly changed last year and they changed for the better. There are a couple of big changes coming for the Leafs this year. The first is the loss of Dallas Eakins and the second is the arrival of the Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern conference. I worry about Steve Spott and look forward to seeing more of the Wings. The 2013/14 season is really shaping up and it should be great - or not. That's why they play the games.

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#8 HocFan
July 06 2013, 07:45AM
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@BCLeafFan

Makes me laugh out loud when I hear people talk about the vast improvement in the Leafs last season. Check the stats .... they had 2 more points than they had after 48 games the previous season, and they did not play any games against the stronger western teams. Please tell me how that was a vast improvement?

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#9 DR
July 06 2013, 10:56AM
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Shouldn't dressing up some guy as the next Wendel be like showing images of Mohammed or something?

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#10 @BCLeafFan
July 06 2013, 12:53PM
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When a team hasnt won a Championship since 1967, the fans have a Right to be negative and voice their opinions. So don't tell me when and What I can and cannot say here. My boyfriend wants Leafs fans to visit his site Hockey Inside Out this weekend , we are having a Review of the NHL Draft and Free agency chat, with guests and trivia.

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#11 Jay
July 06 2013, 12:54PM
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Totally agree with BC Leafs fan. We stink.

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#12 jasken
July 06 2013, 02:30PM
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HocFan wrote:

Makes me laugh out loud when I hear people talk about the vast improvement in the Leafs last season. Check the stats .... they had 2 more points than they had after 48 games the previous season, and they did not play any games against the stronger western teams. Please tell me how that was a vast improvement?

The previous season Leafs were 9-6-3 against the Western Division. They were 26-31-7 the Eastern division, against their own and a 9-14-1 against northeast. This season they were 26-17-5 against the Eastern division they reached 26 wins same as year before with 34 games not even played that is a huge improvement. If those numbers kept at that pace they would have had 37-25-2 against the Eastern thats huge a total reverse of previous season. Within the Northeast they already passed the year before going 10-6-2 how is that not a vast improvement. Even if they lost next 6 games they still passed the previous season in the division by a 1-0-1 and they would have to lose all of the next 34 not to surpass previous years wins that includes the 18 games against the west I heard of a lot of things but I think that would go down as the all time worse losing streak in any sport in history. Since they went 3-4 in playoffs that means their 29-21-5 to late already past it.

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