Toronto Maple Leafs: Trading for Campbell, Clifford addresses immediate need

Jack Campbell #36 and Kyle Clifford #13 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Campbell #36 and Kyle Clifford #13 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally pulled the trigger on a trade to address their shaky goaltending situation acquiring Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford.

Patience can only get you so far but the Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t afford to wait for Michael Hutchinson to have a breakthrough that might never happen.

Instead, Kyle Dubas made a call to the Los Angeles Kings to make a deal that he probably should have made earlier in the season getting Jack Campbell Kyle Clifford in exchange for Trevor Moore and draft picks.

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There are many reasons why this was the ideal trade for the Leafs to make at this time. With Frederik Andersen out and two straight rough performances from Michael Hutchinson, the Leafs needed to find a solution.

Considering most teams, like the New York Rangers, were looking at players like Kasperi Kapanen, Alexander Kerfoot or Andreas Johnsson in exchange for a goalie, the Leafs avoid giving up a premier trade asset. Instead, Toronto moves Trevor Moore who was a decent player but one that was certainly expendable considering the Leafs have a lot of depth upfront.

Campbell not only has experience as a backup but he has been getting more than his fair share of games this season. After putting up a .928 save percentage and 2.30 GAA in 31 games last season, Campbell’s numbers have dipped to a .900 save percentage and a 2.85 GAA in 20 starts. At the same time, that had more to do with a tough month of October and December where his save percentage was below .890 sv%.

Having Campbell signed for the next two seasons also brings some assurance in the team’s goaltending depth as both Joseph Woll and Ian Scott should be afforded as much time to develop with the Marlies.

When you look at Clifford, there is a lot he brings to the table in an area that many have been craving for especially in the bottom six. As a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Kings, Clifford has the experience, willingness to play a physical game and ability to be an effective penalty killer that will be a welcomed addition.

Both players also have familiarity with Dubas who had them both when he was with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, it’s no coincidence that they were high up on his list just like Jake Muzzin was last season.

Trading away a third-round pick in 2020 and a conditional 2021 third-rounder which can become a second-round pick if they re-sign Clifford or if they make the playoffs and Campbell wins 6 regular-season games, is not cheap by any means but you have to give up something get something. Also, Moore might thrive with his hometown team than with the Leafs considering it would have been tough for him to get more playing time.

While you can’t call this trade a slam dunk right now, it shows that the Leafs front office sees the holes this team currently has, Now, the real question is how much more do they have planned considering there are still areas the team can improve between now and the trade deadline.

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What are your thoughts on the trade? Do you think this will bring the much-needed boost the team needs or do they still have more work to do? Let us know in the comments below.