The @MapleLeafs have acquired goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Trevor Moore, Columbus’ third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a conditional third round pick in 2021. #LeafsForever— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 6, 2020
The Kings will also retain 50% of Clifford’s $1.6 million salary. That’s $800k against the cap for Toronto.
Shortly after the game ended on Wednesday night, Elliotte Friedman had this to say:
Hearing TOR/LA working on something involving Jack Campbell and Kyle Cliffoed— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 6, 2020
That conditional third in ‘21 becomes a 2nd RD pick if either Clifford re-signs with the Leafs OR Campbell wins a certain amount of games .... Kings are guaranteed at least the 3rd Rd pick if neither of those conditions are met https://t.co/2GHoMyPFOJ— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 6, 2020
Who is Jack Campbell?
Jack Campbell is the third goalie in LA, the same way the famous Alexandar Georgiev is in New York, but the recent upturn in the play of Jon Quick has made Campbell expendable in the Kings eyes.
Campbell has a truly lovely cap hit of only $675,000 for the rest of this season, but he is under contract for two more years at $1.65 million AAV in those years, which is a fully reasonable number if he can perform in the Leafs environment.
Campbell just turned 28, is from Port Huron, Michigan, and played in the US Development Program before moving to the OHL.
Don’t look at his OHL save %.
He was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2010, 11th overall, and that draft position led to expectations he just couldn’t meet. It wasn’t a question of if the Stars would move on from him, it was when. After a few fraught years playing in the AHL, and seeing one NHL game in Dallas in two different seasons, he was traded to the LA Kings in the summer of 2016 for Nick Ebert. The Kings then signed him to a $650,000 one-year deal and then resigned him the next summer to his current deal. The bigger extension came just this September, and seemed to indicate they were planning on keeping him in the organization.
In the AHL, on the Ontario Reign, that is, Campbell has maintained a fairly solid level of performance, and he played 31 games on the Kings last year that had good results. This year, his 20 games in the NHL are not quite as good, but the price is very right here on a goalie to try out.
Using more sophisticated measures of Campbell’s ability over the last two seasons, Campbell is 17th for all goalies in his Fenwick Save % over Expected (Evolving Hockey). But that’s made up of one great year and one somewhat poor year. And this year is not his good one. He, like the famous Georgiev, doesn’t have enough games in the NHL for anyone to be sure what he’s capable of.
But he’s worth trying out, and the term on his deal is not too horrible a pill to swallow (or to bury in the AHL) if it comes to that.
The addition of Clifford in this deal is very interesting. While the Leafs are giving up California-native Trevor Moore, they don’t immediately seem to need to take back a depth player. And the Kings had to retain on this deal to make the numbers work.
Clifford just turned 29, and he is almost one year older than Campbell. He’s a bit on the big side of average, and shoots left. He primarily plays left wing. He is originally from Ayr and played for the Barrie Colts in the OHL.
He was drafted by the Kings in the second round in 2009, and his current contract for $1.6 million AAV (before the full salary retention) was signed by the Kings in 2015. This is the sort of deal that I like to call the “why are you here?” deal. It’s double a depth player’s AAV, but not enough to mean you’re really a third liner. Clifford plays about 12 minutes a night for the Kings, which is about double what a Leafs fourth liner is trusted with.
This kind of serious long-term track record of decent depth scoring and veteran leadership is exactly the sort of thing the Leafs seem to be missing. With the retention, the AAV comes down into “just right” range, and he could be a valuable asset on the team.
This is exactly who you want to see added to the Leafs on depth. He won’t likely be very fast, but no one minds Jason Spezza’s speed, so he might be capable of doing the occasional third-line shift like Spezza does.
Forgot: when Kyle Dubas was an agent, his first client was...Kyle Clifford— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 6, 2020
If #Leafs assign G Michael Hutchinson to the minors, the trade will result in the same amount of cap hit coming in as going out.— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 6, 2020
Acquired: Campbell ($675k) and Clifford with 50% retained ($800k) = +$1.475M
Traded: Moore ($775k) and if they assign Hutchinson (700k) = -$1.475M