Standing comfortably by his dressing room stall, David Clarkson refuses to dodge questions about a goal drought that's lingered 10 games into the start of his Maple Leafs career. He's willing answer queries for as long as needed.

"Ask whatever you want," he says.

And he understands the questions. But he also knows why he was brought into the fold in Toronto and why Dave Nonis and company chose to pony up seven years at $36.75 million.

"I wasn't brought here to score 50 goals," Clarskon said earnestly after practice on Monday morning. "I was brought here for that full game that I bring, competing every night."

Nonis made that point clear on the day he signed the Mimico native last July. The considerable size and weight of the deal aside – not to mention the 30 goals he scored two seasons ago – internal expectations for the 29-year-old did not hinge strictly on offence but instead on the range of tools and experience he could contribute to a group prospectively on the rise.

And though he hasn't scored, with bad luck in a mostly defensive role primarily to blame, Clarkson has generally played that part with the Leafs, admittedly still adjusting to the new confines of life in Toronto.

"He hasn't really let it affect anything about him," James van Riemsdyk said of Clarkson's goal drought during a conversation with the Leaf Report. "I think he's come in and filled his role; [he's] played hard, finished checks, stuck up for his teammates and had a couple tough bounces as far as goal-scoring [goes]..."

Predictably pesky and a willing physical combatant, Clarkson has actually been at his best as a puck-controlling, forechecking burden deep in the offensive zone – something the group at large has struggled with until spurts recently. Effective in that regard mostly alongside Mason Raymond, Clarkson leads the team in puck possession (CORSI,) despite starting many of his shifts in the defensive zone.

"That's something I've always brought," said Clarkson, who has three assists, including a pair in the past two games. "In my career, I've always been known to be a guy that down low is hard to play against, that's always in the blue paint, winning battles down low, finishing checks and driving the other team crazy."