So it would appear that Dubas decided to make the trade for a goalie sooner rather than later, which was the correct call. I had anticipated a deal, but the Kings' Jack Campbell was not on my radar. The 28 year old American-born goaltender recently came into some additional games as the Kings have been treading through some difficult waters with their core has slowed down significantly.
Campbell is relatively inexperienced, but managed to post some decent numbers last year. He played in 31 games last season, posting a .928 save %. This year he has struggled a bit, but that is a direct result of the team becoming one of the bottom feeders in the West. A fresh start could rejuvenate his career, but the real question remains. Will Jack be ready to play important games in the craziest hockey market on earth?
There is no question that playing as a Leaf has its' negatives. The fans and organisation expect results right away, and the injury to Andersen gives Campbell absolutely no time to settle in with his new team. The main concern many fans have is the lack of experience, particularly in big games. Despite being 28, Campbell has played in basically no important games as an NHL goalie. The spotlight has always been on Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. However, in Toronto, everybody will be watching Campbell. Media will be eager to speak with him and the pressure will be immense for a goalie who hasn't been through the ups and downs of playing in a market like this.
The next game for Toronto will be tomorrow, February 7th, against the Anaheim Ducks. There is no word about who will get the start just yet, but Campbell will be expected to play if Andersen is still out with injury. The Ducks are an ideal team to play for Campbell. They are a team that the Kings have faced many times, and Campbell has seen them once this year. Unfortunately, he did not fair well against the Ducks, stopping only 16 of 19 shots. Despite this poor outing, Campbell is very familiar with the team and knows their tendencies. I expect a lot of energy from the Leafs and it will be a good test for everyone involved.
The Leafs also bring in Kyle Clifford, an experienced winger who can add a physical element the Leafs simply do not have. Sure, Muzzin throws the odd hit, but nobody plays the game quite like Clifford. He is not known for his scoring or play making ability, but he can drop the gloves with the best of them. Last year he had 21 points and 96 penalty minutes. He had six fights, including scraps against the likes of Zack Kassian, Lawson Crouse, and Zach Bogosian. Adding a player like this gives the team some options, as they simply don't have a player who can step up when a game gets rough. For too long have Leafs been pushed around without consequence.
For the Kings, the trade made sense as well. They added a couple third round picks, one in each of the next two years, as well as a skilled forward in Trevor Moore. As a Leaf, he simply hasn't been able to post great numbers. However, he has posted solid numbers in the AHL, recording 39 points in 46 games last season with the Marlies. As a Leaf, Moore has not been able to find much luck offensively and that is likely a result of the roster depth. The top two lines in Toronto is extremely deep and Moore has been stuck playing a third or fourth line role, which is simply not what he is accustomed to. As a King, Moore will be given more opportunity and should see some time on the power-play, possibly even the first unit as the team is clearly trying to develop their young players moving forward.
Adding two picks is a nice bonus for a team rebuilding. By the time the Kings become competitive again, there is no telling where Campbell would be. I am sure he feels ready for a larger role in the NHL and I am doubtful that he wanted to be in L.A. after this season. He has an expiring contract and it may have been the Kings only chance to move him before he leaves town.
The 2021 draft pick is a conditional third, but the conditions are not released yet. It's safe to say that the condition likely depends primarily on their playoff success and what role Campbell plays in that.
At the end of the day, both teams filled a hole in their organisation. There is no telling how this will work out for Toronto, but the Kings will definitely benefit from the trade. The Leafs solidified their goalie position, but we won't know if the trade was successful until Andersen returns. If Campbell can play well and get the Leafs some wins in Andersen's absence, the trade will be deemed successful in my books. If the team makes the playoffs and can re-sign Campbell, it will be an absolutely fantastic trade for Dubas.
Speaking of Dubas, he deserves some credit for finding a deal that works for the team. There is no lack of scoring in Toronto and Moore really wasn't being used to his full potential. Losing some picks is never good, but the team has no need to stockpile picks at this point in time. Moving forward, I expect both teams to benefit, but the pressure will be on Jack Campbell to prove Dubas right.