The Blue Jackets just made a trade that stunned the NHL.
Unfortunately, it was because nobody in the NHL believed anyone would ever trade for David Clarkson.
The team has sent LTIR-Wing Nathan Horton to Toronto, straight up, for Clarkson. No salary retained by either side, no picks. A pure player to player swap.
In remarks to the press, Jarmo is praising Clarkson as a "physical, hard skating, goes to the net" kind of guy, and that is true, but he's being paid over $5 million a year for the next five years...and is very much NOT a perennial 30 goal scorer. Having hit that mark once, he cashed in big for Toronto off the strength of that season, and has been a disappointment ever since.
Seriously, have you ever seen a team's fans react like this for a guy who they think has some value?
Now, I will say this - fans in Toronto were told that Clarkson was going to come in and be a savior for them. He was put under pressure to be a top line scoring winger, and that's not his game. Maybe the Blue Jackets ask him to do less, and he's able to play better out from under the Toronto pressure cooker. 30 goal scoring dynamic forward better? I find that incredibly doubtful. But perhaps he'll be a serviceable 3rd line guy.
The news also came out that part of why the team needed to trade Horton was that the winger's contract was not being covered by insurance. As others have mentioned, Toronto has the money to pay someone to never play again. Columbus really couldn't. So the organization will at least get a player on the ice for the money they had been spending in vain.
Clarkson is flying to Columbus tonight, and the team expects to have him in the lineup for the game against the Devils on Saturday, so I guess we'll see what happens then. If nothing else, he's certainly going to get a new jersey number - #71 is taken.
I suspect that many people are hoping that perhaps David Clarkson can prove a lot of people wrong, but doubting that it will happen.