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Before everything else, there is a pressing matter that could affect the team for years to come.
David Clarkson scored 30 goals last season, and started out on an even hotter pace this season. After years of playing the role of enforcer and tough guy, Clarkson has developed a scoring touch that makes him a dangerous threat whenever he's on the ice.
Additionally, his toughness and physicality give him a mix that few in the league can boast. He's as gritty as they come, and he fights hard for those goals.
And now he's becoming a free agent.
Clarkson has benefited heavily from playing for the Devils. He grew as a player under Jacques Lemaire and then dramatically improved his game under the next Devils head coach, Pete DeBoer, who coached Clarkson in juniors.
Clarkson is also a fan favorite for the Devils, as his rugged play and ability to agitate endear him to many hardcore fans.
But as much as Clarkson benefits from playing for the Devils, they also benefit from having him.
After Zach Parise left, Clarkson became one of the players who would be relied on for offense. He needs to fill in some of those 30-plus goals that Parise would be adding each season. And should the Devils lose him, it would simply be too much talent leaving the team too quickly. The Devils would be left unable to compete with the real teams.
David Clarkson might not spend the whole season as a Devil, but it is crucial to the stability of the team that management re-sign the forward for more than a season or two. They need to ensure that the Devils are still a team worth rooting for.