CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 21: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks (L) dodges a check from David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the United Center on December 21, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Maple Leafs 4-0. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Examining the innovative and surprising Nathan Horton – David Clarkson trade

In one of the most innovative and surprising trades in recent memory, Nathan Horton of the Columbus Blue Jackets was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for David Clarkson. Full stop. No salary retained. Nothing else was added to this deal to sweeten the pot for either side. For as simple as it was presented on the surface, this deal was anything but.

As Jeremy Crowe of Buckeye State Hockey points out in these tweets that it is a pretty stark contrast between his contract year in 11-12′ and the other points in his career. It is very obvious that the Leafs paid David Clarkson for past performance the summer after his career year. This is often done in many sports but often times you can mitigate risk by looking at different factors surrounding a player. When these type of jumps in production are made the only thing you can possibly do is look at things like Jeremy presented above.

You have nearly a three hundred some odd game track record to draw from and pick apart deviations that he may have had in the past. Front offices many times don’t want to look at the stats and analyze what looks like an outlier of a season.

Clarkson isn’t to blame for his contract, the Leafs gave him it after all but his production should have lead no one to believe that he was worthy of such a contract. The Blue Jackets will hopefully try to limit his minutes moving forward but from what we have seen from this morning it won’t be the case moving forward.

I have written in the past about Horton and his journey with the Blue Jackets, most recently my article was about Horton’s need to effectively retire and find a different path whether it be in hockey or elsewhere. The pain that he has been through is excruciating and has proven to effect his quality of life.

Horton more than likely won’t play in a game again and that is part of the reason the Leafs picked him up. They have money to burn and the Jackets don’t, the odd part of it all is the insurance muck up that the Jackets may or may not have brought onto themselves:

What is this perceived threshold? Horton missed forty games last year and qualified as less than half of the season. Questions have been raised with few answers thus far but nonetheless, the Leafs flexed their financial muscle and were willing to pay an injured, uninsured player meanwhile the Jackets weren’t.

Truly in this trade you don’t really have a winner or a loser. It is a lateral move that makes sense for both sides. Clarkson may bring a negative impact onto the Jackets but that is yet to be seen, his time in Toronto was undoubtedly toxic and yielded nothing of note, his time with Columbus doesn’t have to be the same. Columbus will admittedly have less pressure than Toronto but will that be enough for Clarkson to revitalized a stalled career? The numbers say he won’t but Columbus is willing to take that risk.

About Sam Blazer

Sam is a self proclaimed chess prodigy. He once placed seventh in the state of Ohio in Chess when he was in kindergarten. He will rarely if ever mention though that only eight people were entered in this tournament. Contact him at