The Toronto Maple Leafs have made yet another major move, trading David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton.
I was almost positive that Clarkson was going to be a Leaf for an extended period of time. There hadn’t even been a lot of talk about the forward getting traded due to his gigantic contract being deemed as unmovable. I am in total shock right now.
Comparatively, both players have very similar contracts. Horton has 4.5 years remaining on his, with annual earnings of 5.30M. Clarkson also has 4.5 years remaining, with annual earnings of 5.25M.
But, here’s the interesting aspect of the trade. Nathan Horton has not played a single game since 2013-14; his hockey career is in jeopardy because of a serious back injury. Because he’s on the a long-term injured reserve, his contract doesn’t count against the cap.
In real money terms, neither franchise is really saving anything. But essentially, Toronto management is okay with undertaking an inactive player if that saves them cap room. Meanwhile, Columbus management, who has some more cap space, would rather have a player contributing to the team than one on the IR, even if they do sacrifice their cap space as a result.
It’s a very unconventional trade that you usually won’t see too often in the National Hockey League.
I wish nothing but the best for David Clarkson in Columbus. I respect any player who wants to come and represent their hometown team.
It’s unfortunate the way it ended, but the Leafs have somehow gotten themselves out of a mess. I did not like the Clarkson signing from the start.
“I don’t regret signing here or playing with the Leafs”, Clarkson said following the trade. “It’s a dream I’ve had since I was a little boy, to wear that jersey.”
Oddly enough, within the last two weeks, Toronto has now traded three players who were Leafs fans growing up: Franson, Winnik, and Clarkson.