From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every* player who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Chris Clark.
Contract Status: $2.63m cap hit in 2008-09; UFA after 2010-11
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 32
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 6+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 18 games played, 5 goals, 4 assists, even, 43 PIMs
Key Stat: Missed eight games with a head injury and 56 (plus seven in the playoffs) with a groin injury
The Good: Less than a year after missing just two games after having the roof of his mouth shattered, Captain Cadaver took an Alex Ovechkin slapper square in the ear, but was back on the ice in less than two weeks... if Clark isn't the most courageous player in the NHL, he's certainly on the shortlist. He was also starting to find his scoring touch prior to the groin injury, as he had all nine of his points (5 goals, 4 assists) in his final 11 games and he ended the season with a team-best 17.2 shooting percentage.
The Bad: Besides the obvious health issues, Clark had a slow start to the season, as it took him seven games to score his first point (though much of that may be attributable to being re-cast as a third-liner rather than opposite AO on the top trio), and throughout his shortened season he found himself in the penalty box far too often (he had just 23 fewer penalty minutes in 18 games in 2007-08 than he had in 74 games in 2006-07). In fact, Clark took the most penalties per sixty minutes of ice time of any regular (yes, including John Erskine and Donald Brashear), and had the worst penalties taken-to-drawn ratio on the team - not a good combination, especially from your captain.
The Vote: It's a little unfair given how few games he played, but rate Clark on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Question(s): Assuming he's 100% healthy, what role do you see Clark playing next season? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?
If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.
* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.