David Clarkson Making His Case for Canada's Olympic Team

Dan RudakoffContributor IIFebruary 16, 2013

David Clarkson celebrates his 10th goal on the season on Friday night.
David Clarkson celebrates his 10th goal on the season on Friday night.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If the NHL does end up sending players to Sochi for the Olympics next February, then David Clarkson is making a strong case for a spot on Team Canada.

After exploding for 30 goals last season, the New Jersey Devils winger is in the middle of another stellar season, picking up his 10th goal in 14 games on Friday night, good enough for second in the NHL in scoring.

Clarkson has thrived ever since Peter DeBoer took over behind the bench for the Devils last season. It should come as no surprise though, because Clarkson and DeBoer have a bit of history together from their pre-NHL days. DeBoer was the coach of the 2002-03 Kitchener Rangers, where Clarkson had 22 goals and 17 assists on route to a Memorial Cup.

The undrafted winger from Toronto signed as a free agent with the Devils in 2005 and spent one year in Albany before making his way to New Jersey.

Since earning a full-time spot on the roster, Clarkson's game has evolved from intimidator to grinder to sniper.

Now that he has evolved into a top-tier player in New Jersey, Clarkson is making a pitch for Sochi, where he could play a pivotal role on what will likely be a very young Canadian team.

One skill that could definitely come in handy in Sochi is Clarkson's ability to get in front of the net and score on deflections and rebounds, something that Canada could sorely need, especially on the power play.

Whether or not he keeps on his current pace, it looks like Clarkson should at least earn an invite to the selection camp for a Canadian team looking to defend its gold medal from Vancouver.