Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson has been suspended 10 regular-season games without pay for leaving the bench to take part in a fight.

Clarkson's move to join the fight Sunday during Toronto's 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres will delay his Leafs debut until Oct. 25 at Columbus.

The six-foot-one, 200-pound right-winger was coming to the defence of Phil Kessel after Sabres enforcer John Scott tried to instigate a fight with the Leafs star in the third period.

Clarkson was assessed a game misconduct penalty before being handed the automatic suspension Monday.

Clarkson, who signed a $36.75-million US, seven-year contract with Toronto in the off-season, will forfeit $269,230.80 of his salary.

The Leafs are still waiting to see if Kessel, who was issued a match penalty during the game, will receive further discipline.