After being unable to scale through physicals prior to the start of the 2016/2017 season, Ice Hockey right winger David Clarkson was placed on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ long-term injured reserve.
Worse, he was ruled out for the rest of the season, consequently, Clarkson had to unofficially retire from playing. And due to the severity of the injury, he may never be able to play another NHL game. His contract was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights at the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. Despite not playing, Clarkson continues to earn thanks to the 7-year contract he inked with the Toronto Maples in 2014.
His injury may have robbed him of playing time but David Clarkson has remained active in hockey as a coach. In 2016, he volunteered to be the assistant head coach of the Upper Arlington High School hockey team Bears Ice which plays in the USHS-OH league. In 2017, Clarkson assumed the position of the head coach.
David Clarkson Biography
David Clarkson aka Dave Clarkson was born on March 31, 1984, in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. Influenced by his father who was a longtime Maple Leafs season-ticket holder, Dave grew up to love ice hockey. At the age of 15, he began his junior career with the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League. He also played for the Aurora Tigers and brought his junior career to an end playing for the Kitchener Rangers. In the 2002/2003 season, Clarkson won the Memorial Cup with Kitchener.
The Canadian ex-hockey player went professional in 2005, he went undrafted and was signed as a free agent by the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils. A month after getting signed, Clarkson was assigned to play for the American Hockey League’s Albany River Rats and later the Lowell Devils, a minor team of The Devils who played in the AHL.
Before the end of the 2006/2007 season, Clarkson had improved enough to earn his first NHL appearance for the New Jersey Devils. He didn’t net a goal in his debut game against the Carolina Hurricanes, however, in his second game against Carolina, he netted one goal but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to clinch his side a win as the Devils lost 7-2 to Carolina.
In the 2007/2008 season, Clarkson was signed to a two-year deal worth $800,000 per year with the Devils. Subsequently, Clarkson signed another 3-year deal which would see him remain at the side till the 2012–13 season.
As a result of the 2012–13 NHL lockout – a labor dispute between the NHL and the NHLPA, Clarkson signed with Austrian team EC Red Bull Salzburg. However, he returned to the Devils in 2013-14 after the lock was settled.
Following the end of his deal with the Devils, Clarkson once again became an unrestricted free agent. He rejected a deal with the Devils choosing instead to ink a 7-year $36.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Unfortunately, an improved contract didn’t mean an improved performance on the pitch for Clarkson. Unsatisfied with his rather rusty performance, Toronto had enough by his second season with the club and traded him to Columbus Blue Jackets and in exchange got the services of Nathan Horton. The unfortunate July 2015 trade has seen Toronto’s deal with Clarkson dubbed one of the worst in NHL history.
To be fair, Clarkson’s unimpressive performance wasn’t entirely his fault. A back injury which he suffered since his days with the Devils would mar his subsequent performances. Sans that injury, Clarkson might have just gone ahead to be the star franchise player that Toronto wanted him to be.
Clarkson found a way to play with the injury but it got worse with time. He needs a surgery to repair the three degenerative discs in his spine, but should he ever opt for the surgery which would mean getting his spine fused, then his NHL career would truly be over. However, without the surgery, Clarkson still needs a miracle to get back on the saddle.
Facts About David Clarkson
1. His dream as a young boy was to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
2. Clarkson won the NHL YoungStars Game in 2008.
3. Deals in the NHL are guaranteed which means that Clarkson continues to earn though not an active player. However, Clarkson’s contract is insured which means that he can only get paid 20% raw money of his deal according to the terms of the contract. By the end of his contract in the 2019/2020 season, Clarkson must have earned an estimated $5.7 million.
4. In 2010, Clarkson married Brittney Roberts with whom he has three children including two daughters McKinnley (born in 2011) and Teagan (born in 2016), and a son Colton born in 2013. The Clarkson’ live in Upper Arlington, Ohio.
5. David Clarkson stands at 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds.
6. He operates a charity organization called Clarky’s Kids in Kitchener, Ontario. It was started in 2007 and is aimed at raising money for sick children.