Trade grades: Desperate Leafs make out well in Campbell deal

Icon Sportswire / Getty

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings got a head start on the trade deadline Wednesday, orchestrating a significant deal shortly after Toronto's critical loss in Manhattan.

The deal

TOR receives LA receives
G Jack Campbell F Trevor Moore
F Kyle Clifford 3rd-round pick (2020)
Conditional 3rd-round pick (2021)

The Kings retained 50% of Clifford's salary ($800,000) in the trade, and the 2021 pick Toronto gave Los Angeles will turn into a second-rounder if Clifford re-signs with the Leafs or if the club makes the playoffs this season with Campbell winning six games down the stretch.

Bolstering the backup position was something many thought Toronto needed to do all season long, and now that it's done so, let's hand out grades to assess how each team made out in the deal.

Maple Leafs' perspective

Enough was enough for general manager Kyle Dubas. Incumbent backup Michael Hutchinson fell to 4-9-1 on the season with a .886 save percentage and a 3.66 goals-against average after Wednesday's defeat to the New York Rangers, and with recently underperforming starter Frederik Andersen battling a neck injury, Toronto quickly needed an upgrade in goal.

On the surface, Campbell appears to provide that. The 28-year-old is 8-10-2 on the year with a .900 save percentage and 2.85 goals-against average for the last-place Kings. In 2018-19, Campbell finally looked like the goalie taken 11th overall in the 2010 draft, posting a .928 save percentage along with 15.16 goals saved above average in 31 appearances.

Campbell's performance as the season wears on will ultimately determine how the Leafs make out in the grand scheme of this trade, but off the bat, it appears Toronto made a worthy gamble on its new backup. Campbell's salary is not an issue for the cap-strapped Leafs this season, and he starts a two-year extension at $1.65 million per in 2020-21, providing the Leafs with some future security at the position should he meet expectations.

In Clifford, the Leafs add some sandpaper to a lineup that clearly lacks it. The 29-year-old only has 14 points this season, but he has surprisingly strong underlying metrics for a player perceived as an enforcer.

Here's a look at his isolated impact on both ends of the ice over the past five seasons, according to Hockey Viz.

According to these graphs, Clifford has manufactured positive shot production and suppression numbers over a large portion of his career, making it clear why the analytics-driven Dubas was willing to add him to Toronto's skill-based lineup. It also doesn't hurt that Clifford won two Stanley Cups with the Kings, potentially boosting his value to the Leafs should the club ultimately qualify for the playoffs.

The two picks Toronto gave up are undoubtedly pricey, but surrendering draft capital is far less of a blow than missing the playoffs would be for a team that started the season with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations.

Since Jan. 1, the Leafs rank 26th overall with a .881 save percentage in all situations - they simply couldn't afford to let their hopes be torpedoed by unreliable goaltending any longer.

Grade: B+

Kings' perspective

Kevin Sousa / National Hockey League / Getty

Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake was nowhere near as desperate to make a deal as Dubas, but he did well to capitalize on a chance to recoup assets without giving up all that much.

Moore, a native of nearby Thousand Oaks, Calif., should have no problem carving out a role for himself on the Kings' roster. The 24-year-old winger appeared to be a part of the Leafs' future plans during his initial recall last season, but he was leapfrogged on Toronto's depth chart by the likes of Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall after dealing with injuries this year.

Moore has registered 13 points in 52 NHL games and provides Los Angeles' lineup with high-level speed and aggression, costing only $775,000 until 2021. He plays a different style than Clifford - a Kings fan favorite over the years - but has more offensive upside and could see a spike in production with an increased role.

Campbell finding his way last season was a tremendous success story for the Kings, but he's easily replaced by Cal Petersen - a 25-year-old netminder who posted a .924 save percentage in 11 NHL appearances in 2019-20. Petersen will slot in behind veteran Jonathan Quick, and he'll cost the Kings less against the salary cap going forward.

Above all else for L.A., this deal was about the picks. The Kings are clearly rebuilding and banking as many draft selections as possible is the correct strategy for the organization to employ. Taking two third-rounders from the Leafs gives the team 24 picks over the next two drafts, including 11 in the first four rounds. That presents Blake a huge opportunity to add to a promising Los Angeles prospect pool that features the likes of Alex Turcotte, Tobias Bjornfot, Rasmus Kupari, and Gabriel Vilardi.

Grade: A

Trade grades: Desperate Leafs make out well in Campbell deal
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox