The Leafs continue to make major splashes around the NHL via trade. This time Kyle Dubas brought back a former fan favorite and massive free-agent signing David Clarkson to replace Mitch Marner on the top unit’s rightwing. Size and physicality > speed and skill.
If you’ve made it this far, past the ridiculous title and egregious opening sub-heading paragraph, then congratulations, you didn’t take the bait! Yes, the Leafs signed David Clarkson again but obviously this deal is to facilitate the re-signing of Mitch Marner, not replacement of him.
This post will be short and sweet, but the cap really needs to be tipped to Kyle Dubas and Brandon Pridham (Leafs capologist) for finding ways to maximize assets and work around the tight, hard cap. Also, Brenden Shannahan deserves credit as well for his assembling of this Avengers-esque team of front office superheroes.
Say what you will about the Leafs on the ice, most notably that they can’t get past Boston, are small, they don’t fight or hit, etc., but the way the organization is being run is nothing short of amazing. The mix of on-ice assessment of skill, statistical input, and maximum cap negotiation has created this hybrid team that hopefully can push to the next level this season.
By the way, let’s all be smart with the Mitch Marner situation too. It’s likely that he won’t sign until the season starts to allow for Nathan Horton and David Clarkson to be shifted to LTIR, opening up approximately $10.5m in cap space for his contract. This then means that a deal for Marner to sign with Toronto is all but confirmed behind the scenes, with the ink to dry on the first day of the season.
No berating the player and no slating the GM please, not until Marner actually signs an offer sheet, hold out like Nylander did, or refuses to sign and requests a trade. A lot of finagling and positioning needs to be done behind doors to make this difficult (and expensive) puzzle come together.
And for all of those fans suggesting Clarkson will bring some size, physicality, and grit to the line up this season… just give your head a shake.