David Clarkson’s unfortunate first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs has hit yet another speed bump.
The Leafs put the winger on injured reserve on Friday as he continues to deal with a bursa sac issue in his elbow that has been particularly troublesome during recent games.
The injury, which was highlighted in gruesome fashion by HBO on 24/7 when he suffered it three weeks ago, will prevent Clarkson from playing at least the next three games, including part of Toronto’s Western road trip next week.
Clarkson has already missed 13 games – 12 with two suspensions and one with injury – after signing a behemoth seven-year deal as a free agent in the off-season.
The bigger problem than his absence, however, has been his lack of production when he has been in the lineup. Clarkson is 16th in scoring on the Leafs with just three goals and five assists in 36 games, putting him on pace for a 15-point season given the games he’s missed.
Two of his better games this season, however, have come in the Leafs two most recent wins, as he’s found a home on a third line with rookie Peter Holland and Nikolai Kulemin.
“He split his elbow two weeks ago, and it was well along its way healing,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said, explaining how the training staff had to drain the elbow during games of late. “And then it reopened with a body check, and it’s been draining here for the last seven or eight days.
“They made a decision that it wasn’t going to be favourable for him to continue playing with that. He’ll be gone for at least a week.”
The Leafs were also without enforcer Frazer McLaren at practice on Friday as he, too, was placed on injured reserve with a bruised shoulder.
Clarkson and McLaren are the third and fourth Leafs forwards on IR at the moment (joining Dave Bolland and Trevor Smith), which leaves Toronto with just 11 forwards on the roster heading into their home game with Montreal on Saturday.
Carlyle picked out Jerry D’Amigo, Troy Bodie and Jamie Devane as potential call-ups from the Toronto Marlies to fill the hole so there won’t be a sudden infusion of skill into the lineup.