Columbus Blue Jackets forward David Clarkson will not start training camp with the team after failing his physical due to a back injury, as per the team’s president of hockey operations John Davidson.
According to Rob Mixer, who does social media for the Blue Jackets, Davidson said “every time he tries to work out, it’s bothersome”.
Shortly after it was announced, the Blue Jackets tweeted out that Clarkson’s contract is insured.
That wasn’t the case for Nathan Horton, who was a big-name free agent signing by Columbus in 2013. Horton was subsequently diagnosed with a degenerative back injury, ending his playing career. Because the small market Blue Jackets weren’t willing to spend $5.3MM per year until 2020 on a player who will never play another NHL game, they traded him to Toronto for Clarkson. Clarkson was struggling to live up to expectations after signing with his hometown team for $5.25MM per season, also through 2020. The Maple Leafs were willing to eat the Horton contract to move Clarkson.
Clarkson has 4 points in 26 games with the Blue Jackets since he was acquired shortly before the 2015 trade deadline. He has just 30 points in 144 games since signing a seven-year, $36.75MM contract with the Leafs in 2013.
The Blue Jackets have $3.81MM in cap space, but will get relief by placing Clarkson on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season, should he not be able to play.