We got a fairly significant trade late Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning for some) as the Toronto Maple Leafs went and acquired their much-needed backup goalie in Jack Campbell, as well as winger Kyle Clifford, from the Los Angeles Kings for forward Trevor Moore and a pair of third-round picks. There are conditions on one of those picks based on re-signings and Campbell’s win totals.
This came on the heels of a 5-3 loss to the Rangers, which came on the heels of a blown third-period lead against the Panthers. This team has needed a competent backup for years, but do they have it? Let’s dig in.
Campbell turned 28 years old in early January, meaning he’ll be going into his age-29 season. His issue is a lack of NHL sample, as he never became a regular NHL backup until last year. He has just 50 starts and just over 1600 shots faced, about a third of a sample necessary to have a good estimate of goaltender talent. With that said, over the last three years, his Goals Saved Above Average rate (the rate of goals a goalie has saved his team based on shots faced and the league average save percentage) is in the same neighbourhood as goalies like Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, and Corey Crawford. His .900 save percentage this year doesn’t look great, but that Los Angeles team he’s playing behind is awful. Again, it’s a small sample but it’s all we have to work with.
What’s important is that Campbell has two years left on his deal (meaning he can be exposed in the expansion draft) and he’s shown he’s capable of being an NHL backup in small samples. Given the uncertainty with Andersen’s injury, it’s very possible the Leafs just got their starter for the next little while. He’s worth adding in most any fantasy format that starts more than one goalie, even if Andersen is back soon. Being a backup in Toronto is light-years better fantasy-wise than being a backup in Los Angeles.
Clifford is a fourth liner so it’s hard for him to have much fantasy value outside of very deep leagues, but he’s a solid two-way winger who will fit in nicely on their fourth line. Clifford is in the final year of his current deal, so it’s very possible he only plays 25 or so games in a Leafs jersey. In that sense, it doesn’t really block anyone coming up from the AHL, or that player would already be there. It does free up another wing spot on the Los Angeles roster, though there isn’t a lot to work with in terms of a replacement.
Los Angeles gets
Two third-round picks
Moore hasn’t really showed a lot to the Leafs, which is probably why he was the player included here. With that said, he’ll have an opportunity to play up the lineup in Los Angeles, and he’s a guy who has put up 68 hits in 52 career games, while playing just 11 minutes a night. If he can play 16-17 minutes a night with the Kings – eminently possible given the state of the current roster – it’s very possible he pushes for two hits a game. Doing that, he doesn’t need significant point production to have value in banger leagues. At this point, though, we have to wonder how much more growth there is to come offensively, given he’s already 24 years old. That he couldn’t beat out someone like Ilya Mikheyev to play on the second or third line in Toronto should probably give an indication of where his current skill level is. Let’s hope he gets some run on the top line with Anze Kopitar, but I imagine he starts with Jeff Carter.
Fantasy Players Impacted (Dobber's note)
Cal Petersen is considered by LA to be their goalie of the future. His AHL numbers aren't great, but they were never great. The Kings' are high on his play stylistically, as well as his poise and his coachability. They went after him as soon as he walked away from Buffalo after college, and last year in 11 NHL games we caught a glimpse of his abilities with a stronger defensive team in front of him when he went 5-4-1 with a 0.924 SV%. His contract is a one-way deal next year so we all knew that the Kings would be doing something with their goaltending situation. Look for Jonathan Quick to mentor him down the stretch in what is likely a 60-40 split. If Petersen looks great, and comfortable, then this could be a 60-40 split the other way as early as 2020-21. If he looks shaky, then Quick would remain the top guy into next year as well.
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