Tuesday, July 23, 2019

NHL Trade Review: Leafs get Clarkson's contract back

From the Toronto Star


        The Vegas Golden Knights have acquired G Garrett Sparks in exchange for F David Clarkson and a 4th round pick.

        Both teams really need cap space, so this is a head scratcher for Toronto. Clarkson has a $5.25 AAV for one more year, though he can be put on LTIR for the season. Toronto was the team that signed Clarkson to his albatross of a seven year deal. It has now been traded three times, including at the expansion draft. Add Clarkson to Nathan Horton, who Toronto acquired for Clarkson from Columbus, and the Leafs have around $10.45 million in dead cap on LTIR. They only get a fourth rounder for taking on Clarkson, and trade their backup goalie, who's getting paid nearly at the league minimum. Michael Hutchinson and Michal Neuvirth, the latter recently signed to a PTO, will compete to backup Frederik Andersen.

         Clarkson, 35, hasn't played since 2015-16, scoring two goals with two assists for four points in 23 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and won't play in the NHL again. In his NHL career for the Blue Jackets, Leafs and New Jersey Devils, Clarkson scored 114 goals with 86 assists for 200 points in 570 games.

          The Golden Knights are currently over the salary cap, and while Clarkson could be put on LTIR, they get his contract out of the way. In return, they acquire Sparks, who can challenge Malcolm Subban as the backup, but could also be flipped. Sparks might even command something near the 4th round pick given up, if Vegas is lucky.

          Sparks, 26, had a .902 SV% with a 3.15 GAA in 20 games for the Leafs this year. In his NHL career, all in Toronto, Sparks has a .898 SV% with a 3.09 GAA in 37 games.

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