The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded winger David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for right wing Nathan Horton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hats off to Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis. He dealt what was universally considered the NHL’s most untradeable contract. Clarkson is in the second year of a seven-year, $36.75 million contract, which was structured in such a way that it is thought to be buyout-proof. Clarkson also has a modified no-trade and no-movement clause, which supposedly made this deal almost impossible for the Leafs to move.
However, Nonis found a loophole, that being a team with an injured winger on an uninsured contract who might never play again they wanted to move. So, the deep-pocketed Leafs take on the remainder of Horton’s seven-year, $37.5 million contract, which won’t count against their cap as they’ll perpetually place him on LTIR until the contract expires in five years time. It’s possible Horton could return to action one day, but if that were the case, the Jackets would’ve kept him.
So, The Blue Jackets take on a toxic contract, but at least it’s one for a serviceable player who might improve away from the Toronto hothouse. The Leafs shed a bad contract for an under-performing player and take back one they can put on LTIR if Horton never returns to action. And if Horton does return, he’s a better player (when healthy) than Clarkson.