Jagr Traded to Florida, Clarkson to Columbus in Big Turn of Events
Well, general managers certainly don’t seem content on waiting until Monday to make trades after all? After a flurry of activity yesterday afternoon, today, by some grace of god, took the cake. Both Jaromir Jagr and David Clarkson (do you believe in miracles?) were traded, igniting what appears to be a fire sale for both franchises. Dave Nonis managed to partially erase the mess he started, and did what many people thought was to be impossible in trading David Clarkson.
In the first trade of the day, Florida acquired veteran Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey in return for a second round pick this year and a conditional third round pick. Jagr, drafted in 1990, joins the young Panthers, a team founded in 1993, for their push to the playoffs. Florida currently sits two points back from Boston for the second wild card spot with 22 games left on the season.
Jagr has 29 points in 57 games this year, including 11 goals, but he can bring a lot more than his on ice performance to the Panthers. A year removed from having the first overall pick, Florida is a very young team. Led by the likes of Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, and Jonathan Huberdeau, Jagr will be very useful in teaching these kids a thing or two, especially if they make the playoffs. Jagr, although 43, was still one of the best players on the Devils, both number wise and possession wise, and will provide a nice touch to Florida’s top-6.
Then came the shocking deal. Dave Nonis managed to trade the seemingly unmovable contract of David Clarkson to Columbus, who has only 15 points in 58 games this year, in exchange for the injured Nathan Horton. No salary was retained in the deal.
Clarkson spent one and a half seasons in Toronto after signing a seven year deal with them in the summer of 2013. Clarkson’s annual cap hit is 5.25 million, not much better than Horton’s (5.3m for 5 more years), but Horton’s career is in jeopardy due to a back injury and never may play again.
The reasoning for the deal by both teams is clear, although the obtaining of Clarkson’s contract fully by Columbus was not smart. Columbus wanted to have a healthy player on the roster in Clarkson instead of having Horton make the same amount of money to sit in the press box. Kekalainen and the Jackets are also hoping that Clarkson can re-capture his essence in a smaller hockey market where the limelight is not on him as much.
(Quote via Aaron Portzline)
He plays our way. Gritty, hard. Heart and soul player, a net front kind of guy. -Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Clarkson
From Toronto’s perspective, it creates wiggle room. Horton can be stashed on long term injured reserved, greatly helping the cap situation. Although Horton may never play again, Toronto is able to ditch Clarkson’s contract, a hockey miracle on its own.
We may have gotten a glimpse of what the true colors of New Jersey and Toronto are for this trade deadline from their moves today. New Jersey is going down the rebuild path, scavenging for draft picks and prospects in exchange for their roster players. Toronto also appears to be heading down the line of blowing up their roster, and clearing as much cap space as possible. Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel, and Dion Phaneuf could be next on the checklist for Dave Nonis and company.