Editor’s note: Vegas finally has a roster. It’s time to get excited. We will be introducing you to these new Golden Knights players.
The Vegas Golden Knights acquired David Clarkson in an expansion draft trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he might not play again.
Prior to training camp last season, the 33-year-old Clarkson failed his physical due to degenerative discs in his spine. He was not invited to Blue Jackets practice and was placed on the long-term injured reserve list.
The 6-foot winger was a halfway decent grinder before injuries were a constant. Clarkson was a streaky scorer and very good near the net. He’s not a naturally gifted skater or offensive talent and he struggled to be an impact scorer, bumping him down to a bottom-six role.
Clarkson's career changed during the shortened 2012-13 lockout campaign, in which he scored 15 goals in 48 games for the New Jersey Devils.
Overvalued in a weak free agent market, Clarkson was paid as though he were a consistent offensive threat. He signed a seven-year, $36.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he was viewed as the savior of the organization.
Things went downhill after that.
He was suspended 10 games for leaving the bench to fight John Scott the following year, scoring only 11 points. He added 10 more goals in the 2014-15 season before being traded to Columbus.
Clarkson played just 26 games for Columbus and scored two goals and four total points.
By all accounts, Clarkson would be in the Good Teammate Hall of Fame, right beside Marc-Andre Fleury, if he could play for the Golden Knights. And while not necessarily worth the contract he was given, his skill set, toughness, and personality would have fit in very well with this team.
It is unfortunate we might never get to see him wear the Golden Knights jersey.
Clarkson has played 570 games in his NHL career scoring 114 goals, adding 86 assists for 200 points. He also has 992 penalty minutes.