As of midnight today, teams around the NHL are able to start talking to unrestricted free agents. With no deal being done yet for right winger David Clarkson, it is pretty much almost certain that he will not be returning to New Jersey next season. If he does choose to leave, the Devils will certainly need replace his scoring help on the wings.
To be honest, I did not want Clarkson to resign with the Devils in the first place. He is entirely way too inconsistent for the amount of money that he is asking for. Not only the inconsistency but he does not have a complete game. His skating is not the greatest, his passing is not that great either. He also does not have hands to get around a player in a one on one situation to create a better shot for himself. He does however, have a knack for redirecting the puck in front of the net and controlling the puck on the boards.
Here are three Free Agents I would target to replace David:
Coming off his first season in the league with the Detroit Red Wings, the 27 year old put up some pretty impressive numbers. He scored 12 goals, and had 14 assists for a total of 26 points. He also performed in the playoffs scoring 5 goals and dishing out 4 assists in only 12 games. He certainly has the scoring touch but he was a -6 during the regular season. It has been rumored that Damien wants a long term deal and if I was general manager Lou Lamoriello, I would offer him a four year deal to show a commitment to him. This kid has huge upside and could be a great second line winger.
Although Briere is listed as a center, he can play the wing. He can score but the question is, how much does he have left in the tank at 35 years old? New Jersey has reportedly had interest in Briere since he was bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers and NJ might be a top choice for him because he already lives in New Jersey. He should be looking for a three year deal and I think he would be able to fit into the Devils system just fine.
Many New Jersey Devils fans want to sign Stalberg and for good reason. He plays HARD! He would fit into New Jersey's system best out of the list of three I have put together. He has the scoring touch, but he can play defense as well. Viktor had a plus/minus 16 during the regular season to prove it. He also is not afraid to grind in the corners and drop the gloves when necessary. If I was a betting man, Lou has already contacted Viktor's agent showing interest.
I would be happy with any one of these free agents as a replacement for Clarkson. They will also come cheaper! But if he does choose to stay a Devil, I expect one of these three to join him.
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