By Kirk Luedeke
New York Newsday is reporting that veteran right wing Chris Clark (South Windsor, Conn.) has accepted an invitation to attend Boston Bruins training camp this month.
Clark, 35, was the 77th overall selection in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames. He attended Clarkson University, scoring 41 goals and 87 points in his final two NCAA seasons (72 games) before turning pro.
Clark spent six seasons in the Flames organization, and was a member of the 2004 Western Conference championship club, which lost the Stanley Cup final series to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. Clark’s Flames teammates included current Bruin Andrew Ference.
Clark joined the Washington Capitals after the lockout season, and went on to post a career-best 30 goals and 54 points in 74 games during the 2006-07 campaign. He captained the Capitals from 2006-2010, when he was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jason Chimera midway through the ’09-10 season.
A Boston Red Sox fan who grew up cheering for the Hartford Whalers in hockey, Clark told New England Hockey Journal when he was still with Washington that Bruins power forward, hall of famer and current president Cam Neely was his favorite NHL player and idol.
As a camp invitation, Clark is not under contract but will have the opportunity to earn an NHL job with the team. He will have his work cut out for him, as the Bruins have a surplus of players who play a similar style as a rugged, intelligent two-way forward. Clark’s experience, character and leadership would fit well with the Boston dynamic, but the question he will have to answer is whether he has enough in the tank to warrant a spot in the top-12.
Clark has also battled health issues, not playing more than 74 games in a single season since ’06-07. Bringing him to Boston on an invitational basis is a no-risk move that allows the B’s to evaluate Clark’s ability to contribute while providing a lot of the intangibles that Mark Recchi did over the past three seasons.
In 607 career NHL contests, Clark has 103 goals and 214 points.