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David Clarkson has turned from poster boy to disappointment in Toronto

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It took him over four seasons to establish himself as a power forward in the National Hockey League, minutes after signing a contract with the Maple Leafs to become Toronto's poster boy and under 23 games for fans of the Canadian city to want a refund.

Many players across the NHL are flourishing after relocating, but ex-Devil David Clarkson is not one of them.

The Toronto media couldn't get enough of the tough looking winger after he signed a 7-year deal worth $36.75 million with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 5, comparing the Ontario born Clarkson to legendary Leaf Wendel Clark and even featured him on the cover of magazines bleeding Maple Leaf blue.

The glitz and glam would eventually disappear. As would the story lines of how wonderful it was for Clarkson to join the team he grew up watching and how important of a piece he was to the team if they were ever going to find their way back into Lord Stanley's presence.

During a preseason scrum Clarkson made the foolish decision to jump off of the bench to help a teammate, breaking one of the many NHL rules which forced the league to slap him with a 10-game suspension.

Apologetically he dealt with the media once again and all was forgiven. He's David Clarkson, after all. A Leaf fan turned Leaf player, and have you seen that face? Way too adorable to stay mad at.

The big night finally came on Oct. 25 when the Maple Leafs were visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets. Clarkson would finally make his Toronto debut, but despite his four shots on goal, he would be unable to register a point and the Leafs would fall to a 5-2 loss.

Clarkson began picking up assists, three in his first 10 games and on the eleventh night he finally broke into the goals column- scoring at home against the New York Islanders.

Since that November night though, Clarkson has just one goal and one assist to give him two goals and six points on the season. Earlier this month the one-time adored right wing even found himself shuffled down to the third line after the chemistry with Nazem Kadri just wasn't there.

Of course for fans in New Jersey, Clarkson's six points in 23 games isn't that surprising. Neither is the fact that he has taken untimely penalties to prevent his team from getting things accomplished.

In the 2011-2012 season Clarkson put up his best numbers, becoming a 30-goal-scorer for the first time in his NHL career and added 16 assists for a career-high of 46 points. While the numbers were certainly appealing for his suitors down the line when he became a free agent, the Maple Leafs should have taken into consideration the circumstances in which he progressed.

With Travis Zajac out of the lineup with an injury, Clarkson found himself playing alongside Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. At other times throughout his time with the Devils, he would be with guys that made him a better player, such as Patrik Elias.

His salary may fool you into thinking he is the type of player that will make his line mates better, but Clarkson is the one that benefits greatly from being surrounded by talented players.

Toronto just had to learn that lesson the hard way.

It's only December and although fans already have Clarkson on the chopping block, he still has six years to win them over. (Remember: that face!)

If things don't change though, there is no promise that the state of New Jersey won't shout a collective, "we told you so" loud enough to be heard in Toronto.


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