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Clarkson hoping to get back to the ‘role that I played in New Jersey’

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates down the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center on January 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

G Fiume

David Clarkson didn’t want to dwell too much on the past. Which was understandable given how his last two seasons have gone.

However, the newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets did spend some time this morning trying to explain how things went so badly with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 30-year-old winger mentioned the suspension that cost him the first 10 games of the 2013-14 season. (That, of course, being his first season with the Leafs after leaving New Jersey to sign the seven-year, $36.75 million contract that, prior to yesterday, many felt made him the most untradeable player in the NHL.)

He mentioned injuries, too. (Of which he certainly had his share.)

But it was more than that.

“I think also the role I played in Jersey was a lot different than I played in Toronto,” Clarkson told reporters on a conference call.

For example, he noted the lack of power-play time he received with the Leafs, for whom he only scored twice with the man advantage in 118 games. In contrast, he had 14 power-play goals in his last 128 games for the Devils.

And he thinks he can still play that role.

“I’m just looking forward to getting [into Columbus] and getting a fresh start,” he said.

“Just getting back to the way I know I can play, in the role that I played in New Jersey.

“I’m excited about that.”

Clarkson is expected to make his Blue Jackets debut tomorrow in Columbus versus -- well, isn’t that fitting -- the New Jersey Devils.