Friday, July 5, 2013
Leafs agree to deals with Bozak, Clarkson
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs upgraded their offense Friday, re-signing center Tyler Bozak and adding former Devils winger David Clarkson.
Toronto acquired center Dave Bolland from Chicago at the NHL draft.
"We're pretty happy. Our top nine (forwards), I think, will be pretty competitive" Toronto general manager Dave Nonis said.
"And our fourth line will be very hard to play against. I can tell you our coach (Randy Carlyle) is happy with the options that we have right now, in a lot of different areas."
The Leafs had already bolstered their goaltending by trading for Jonathan Bernier.
Clarkson signed for seven years and a reported $36.75 million, while Bozak got a five-year, $21 million deal.
"It feels good," said Clarkson, a Toronto native. "It's an honor to be here. I wore that jersey as a kid. I was a big Leafs fan when I was little so it'll be pretty special to put it on. And for my family, it's a big day."
"I believe he has a lot of good years left in him," said Nonis when asked about the length of the deal.
Toronto cleared space by buying out center Mikhail Grabovski and defenseman Mike Komisarek. The Leafs entered free agency with the second-most available money under the salary cap and the ability to spend up to the $64.3 million limit.
Bozak had 12 goals and 16 assists last season.
"To his credit, Bozie wanted to stay here," Nonis said.
Clarkson reportedly will count $5.25 million against the cap while adding size on right wing. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward had 15 goals and nine assists last season for the Devils and scored 30 in 2011-12.
It came down to three or four teams, Clarkson said.
"At the end of the day I think in my heart this is where I wanted to be," said the 29-year-old, who talked of wearing a Wendel Clark jersey as a kid.
Clarkson got calls from Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf and John-Michael Liles, welcoming him to the Leafs.
The Leafs also signed Frazer McLaren to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million. McLaren had 102 penalty minutes, three goals and two assists in 35 games last season.
Toronto also signed forward Trevor Smith, as well as defensemen T.J. Brennan and Kevin Marshall.