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David Clarkson is the new face of the Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made tremendous strides this season, reaching the postseason for the first time since 2004 and coming heartbreakingly close to defeating the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins.
Rather than sticking with his nucleus, general manager Dave Nonis has elected to shake things up this summer in Hogtown. First, he traded backup goaltender Ben Scrivens for Jonathan Bernier, creating a potential battle for the No. 1 role in the crease next year. Then, he acquired Dave Bolland from Chicago on draft weekend for three picks, adding a pest factor that the Leafs have lacked.
Next, he used his compliance buyouts on Mike Komisarek and Mikhail Grabovski, the latter of whom left town with guns a-blazing.
Finally, Toronto dove into the free-agent pool and came out with highly coveted power forward David Clarkson. A seven-year term is a long commitment, but Clarkson will bring some grit to the Leafs' top forward line. He also has decent hands for a tough guy and is definitely an upgrade on Clarke MacArthur, a Leafs free agent who bolted for Ottawa.
When Toronto hits the ice this fall, fans should see a grittier team that's tougher to play against than in years gone by. That is, if all goes according to plan.