Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs
It’s official: there’s no such thing as a contract that cannot be traded.
In what will probably be the most unlikely trade of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs unloaded David Clarkson’s contract to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton, who appears to be on the verge of retirement.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen already provided a quote for the team’s release, in case you need evidence that you’re not dreaming.
“David Clarkson has been a 30-goal scorer in the NHL who will bring added character and leadership to our group and we believe he will be a valuable contributor to our team,” Kekalainen said. “While we are excited to welcome David to the Blue Jackets, it is also difficult that Nathan’s time here has ended prematurely due to his injury situation. He is a tremendous person and we wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that this was a straight player-for-player trade with no money retained by either side.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that it ultimately comes down to pure dollars: the Leafs can afford to pay Horton to not play (thus saving cap space with him on LTIR), while Columbus needs that money to go to someone who’s on the ice. Here are more details from McKenzie:
Here's bottom line on Clarkson-Horton trade: Horton's contract wasn't insured. CBJ paying him to sit in stands and he's longshot to play.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 26, 2015
Huge cap maneuver for TOR. They lose Clarkson's contract entirely, must pay Horton to not play but get to use Horton's cap dollars elsewhere— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 26, 2015
David Clarkson carries a $4.75 million cap hit along with the following salary breakdown:
Clarkson's salary by year:— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) February 27, 2015
14-15: 4.75 mil
Meanwhile, Nathan Horton’s salary looks like this ($6 million cap hit):
Horton's salary by year:— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) February 27, 2015
14-15: 6.0 mil
Leafs' will pay even if on LTIR
Despite this being a huge deal, it apparently got rolling very quickly.
Surprisingly, sounds like Clarkson deal only took days to put together. Shocking.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 26, 2015
It was Columbus that approached the Maple Leafs about the Clarkson/Horton swap. Creative proposition to get someone on the ice contributing.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 26, 2015
The jokes have been fast and furious, with a ton of praise for Leafs GM Dave Nonis.
"The Leafs traded Clarkson" is the new "Anything is possible"— Japers’ Rink (@JapersRink) February 26, 2015
*unrolls biblical scroll*— PumperNicholl (@PumperNicholl) February 26, 2015
"...only when the two llamas are captured will the Maple Leafs be free of the Clarkson Curse..."