The hockey world is in shock, just a short while ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to pull off the impossible. Trading David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Nathan Horton.
Clarkson, 30, has struggled since signing a seven-year, $36.75 million contract with Toronto in the summer of 2013. In 118 games over two seasons, Clarkson recorded 15 goals, 11 assists, and a minus-25 rating.
I believe, Clarkson still possesses the skill-set to be a useful power-forward in the National Hockey League. However, it is clear he could not produce under the pressure of playing for his hometown team in Toronto. This is a win for a Maple Leafs organization who signed Clarkson to what some would consider the league worst contract.
Nathan Horton is a skilled player in his own right when healthy, the Ontario native, brings a resume that features a Stanley Cup on it to Toronto. Unfortunately,Horton hasn’t played a single-game all season due to severe back problems. The good news for the Maple Leafs is, you can put a guy like Horton on long-term injured reserve. In the process, the team would be saving $5 million+ in cap-space to spend elsewhere. I really cannot believe Toronto did not have to retain any of Clarkson’s salary.
If you are looking at this from a Columbus perspective: The franchise is not a cap-team and you are paying a player a similar salary to play, Instead of sitting on the sideline.
The question is: Was David Clarkson ever worth that type of money?
Evening at his career best, I would say, NO.
This was a good day at the office, Toronto!
My advice: During the upcoming rebuild spend the money more wisely. At least, this move proves that the Maple Leafs are not afraid to get the attention of the hockey world.
Buckle up! I cannot imagine what is to come….