Devils agree on five-year deal with Clowe

July, 5, 2013
7/05/13
3:45
PM ET
The Devils made the biggest splash on draft day -- trading their ninth overall pick to acquire goaltender Cory Schneider from Vancouver -- and they continued to dominate headlines in the opening hours of free agency.

In a deal that will likely garner a healthy amount of criticism, the Devils agreed on a five-year deal with longtime San Jose Shark and ex-Ranger Ryane Clowe -- a deal that carries a hefty annual cap hit of $4.85 million, according to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

Why is this deal likely to spark debate?

Though the 30-year-old Clowe was one of the most coveted free agents at the trade deadline in April (yes, despite being goalless before joining the Rangers), he suffered a pair of concussions (one at the end of the regular season, one during the playoffs) that may have made some teams weary of inking him to a substantial, long-term deal.

Assume that Clowe was given a clean bill of health for Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to consummate the deal, but the larger concern will likely be how he fares down the road.

Clowe will also likely be seen as a replacement for gritty winger David Clarkson, who cashed in on another strong season and reportedly chose the Toronto Maple Leafs among a long list of interested suitors, though Clowe will be hard-pressed to match Clarkson's production in recent years.

Clarkson had a breakout year in 2011-12 with 30 goals and 46 points, and he followed that up with another impressive effort in the lockout-shortened 2013 season (15 goals, 24 points). The chippy forward agreed with Toronto on a deal reportedly worth just north of $5 million annually.
Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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