The Toronto Maple Leafs have their backup goaltender. And with Frederik Andersen currently out due to a reported upper-body injury, he might be their starter for the time being.
On Wednesday, the team announced that they have acquired goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford from the Los Angeles Kings for a package that includes forward Trevor Moore.
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
Just hours after suffering a 5-3 loss to the rebuilding New York Rangers, the trade was finalized.
The Kings will be retaining half of Clifford’s salary, bringing his cap hit down to $800,000 for Toronto.
Campbell will need to win six games and the Maple Leafs will need to make the playoffs this season, for the conditions on the 2021 third-round pick to be met. If they are, that pick will become a second-round selection, according to Pierre Lebrun.
Since regular starter Andersen went down with his injury, it became evident that the rumoured trade to acquire a backup and upgrade on goaltender Michael Hutchinson, was necessary if the Leafs wanted to consider the postseason.
Hutchinson has a .882 save percentage through 15 appearances.
In comes former first-round selection Campbell as the hopeful backup to Andersen for the rest of the season. The 28-year-old had a career year in 2018-19, boasting a .928 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average in 31 games, but has seen some regression this season.
Through 20 starts, the American netminder has a .900 save percentage and 2.85 goals against average. Certainly an improvement on paper, but it can be considered a gamble on an inexperienced goaltender that had a good year.
It helps that during his time as general manager of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas traded for Campbell from the Windsor Spitfires back in 2011 — a familiar face.
In Clifford, Toronto can add to their bottom-six forward group a defensively-sound forward that can contribute on the penalty kill as well. The 29-year-old certainly won’t provide the offensive production — notched a career-high 21 points last season — but he can stabilize the depth chart.
Going the other way, attached with a third-round pick and a conditional third-round pick, is forward Trevor Moore. The 24-year-old was signed as an undrafted free agent out of University of Denver and was one of the key benefactors to the Maple Leafs’ focus on their player development system.
In 51 career games in the NHL, he has five goals and 13 points while playing in a depth role for Toronto.
Only time will tell if Campbell can solve some of the goaltending trouble the Leafs currently find themselves in.
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