The Leafs have brought in some much-needed grit to their lineup with the addition of Kyle Clifford. He may have been a throw-in player for the Kings, but Clifford is clearly happy to be home and will be a key piece moving forward!
Hometown is a little bit of a stretch, but Kyle Clifford is technically coming home after his move from the LA Kings in a three-player (two pick) deal with the Maple Leafs. Clifford, born in Ayr, Ontario, grew up a Leafs fan just an over an hour away from the City, and judging by his reaction on Twitter, he is more than excited to be back home!
— Kyle Clifford (@13KCliffy) February 6, 2020
Yes, that is Kyle Clifford’s verified Twitter account with the image being the Maple Leafs logo. And, yes that is totally awesome. He did this with the Kings, too, the team he is sentimentally connected to after being drafted by them in the second round of the 2009 draft and playing parts of ten NHL seasons with them.
The important part of this tweet was the last sentence – “Excited to be coming home.” Not only are players looking at Toronto as an attractive destination because the team is strong, but hometown players are finally wanting to return here with Clifford joining Tavares a few years prior.
It’s always important to trade for and sign good players but it’s equally important to have players that want to be playing for the team – contract value aside. Clifford is one of these players. He’ll bring physicality, a little bit of offense, and some much-needed team toughness with the Leafs, on this the final year of his deal, buying into the system and helping the team grow.
The Kings are eating half of his $1.6m cap hit on the final year of his 5-year contract, making the player attainable and cap-friendly to Dubas and Co. This playoff push and potential playoff run will be Clifford’s tryout for the team next year and/or his platform for free agency in the offseason.
Welcome aboard and welcome home, Clifford. Leafs Nation is as excited to have you as you are to be here!