Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
The Toronto Maple Leafs got in on the trade action a little early than other teams this year making a splash to bring in Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford.
The deal saw the Leafs move out Trevor Moore and a conditional third.
TLN editor Jon Steitzer broke down the piece in a Feb. 6 article which was 16th most-read article this year.
The irony is that the deal reaaaalllly wasn’t a “blockbuster,” but it was a big move for the Leafs. They were desperate for goaltending help and needed to add some size to the lineup. It’s a good thing that Clifford was an analytics darling, too.
Here’s what Steitzer wrote about the deal:
So we’ll start with the 2020 3rd round pick. As someone who loves the draft and prospects, the idea of giving up a draft pick always stings, and in this case the Leafs gave up two. The 3rd round pick in 2020 was the Leafs second highest pick in the draft since they already lost their 1st by offloading Patrick Marleau. This should be concerning, but the Leafs will have plenty of time following the season and over the draft to recoup draft picks, especially since they will be looking to offload more salary to reallocate in other ways over the summer. It’s not unreasonable to think that the Leafs will find a way to pick more than once in the first 100 draft picks, and even if they don’t, I’ve become very comfortable with what Kyle Dubas can do in the later rounds.
As for the conditional 2021 3rd round pick, well, that’s the least it will be. It moves up to a 2nd if Campbell picks up six wins this year or if Kyle Clifford re-signs with the Leafs. I’d count on both of these things happening, so treat it like a 2nd. That’s a bit more of a steep price. Again, the Leafs have 16 months to recoup that pick.
Assuming that the truth on Campbell is somewhere between his 2018-19 season and his 2019-20 season, a second round pick isn’t a bad price to pay for a backup who will give you 30 games easy. If those games are good, it will look like a steal, but let’s not count on that yet.
Renting Kyle Clifford for a 3rd is probably what the price was always going to be. Maybe a 4th, but the salary retention justifies moving it up to a 3rd.
As for Trevor Moore, well, I’m sure Dubas started with seeing if they’d take Harpur or Timashov, but the Kings wanted the California kid. He was moved so the Leafs would be at 49 contracts instead of 50, giving them future flexibility and so they could offload some salary from their roster. He’s not an asset the Kings acquired, he was a logistical move for the Leafs.
So in summary, the Leafs paid a fair price. They didn’t steal anyone and maybe paid more of a price than they would have right at the deadline, but at least on Campbell, there was a need to act sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see if this is it for the Leafs or if this is the start of a very active February.
On Twitter: @zjlaing