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Maple Leafs ship veteran David Clarkson to Blue Jackets

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:00:08 +0000

Fitzgerald Cecilio - 4E Sports Reporter

Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) - The Toronto Maple Leafs have shipped veteran forward David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets for injured forward Nathan Horton.

The move gave the Maple Leafs some $5.25 million space under the NHL salary cap. Although the Maple Leafs will have to pay Horton, his salary does not count against the salary cap because he is on long-term injured reserve with a back injury.

"The money lined up, which was a big part of it," Toronto general manager Dave Nonis said. "From Columbus' standpoint, they were looking to get a player in for that money and we get a player back, who if he can ever come back, is an elite player."

A Toronto native, Clarkson is in the second year of a seven-year, $36.75 million contract he signed in July 2013 after six-plus seasons with the New Jersey Devils. He had to waive a no-movement clause in his contract to complete the deal.

Clarkson's time with the Maple Leafs started with a 10-game suspension to begin the 2013-14 season for leaving the bench in an altercation during a preseason game, and he has been a healthy scratch at times.

Last season, Clarkson scored five goals, had six assists and was minus-14. In 58 games this season, he has 10 goals and 15 points and is minus-11.

"David Clarkson has been a 30-goal scorer in the NHL who will bring added character and leadership to our group and we believe he will be a valuable contributor to our team," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

"While we are excited to welcome David to the Blue Jackets, it is also difficult that Nathan's time here has ended prematurely due to his injury situation," he added.

However, it is unclear if Horton, who has five years remaining on a seven-year, $37.5 million contract he signed in July 2013, will be able to play again with his degenerative back condition. He played 36 games last season with five goals and 19 points.

The Maple Leafs made another trade Thursday, sending forward Spencer Abbott of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman T.J. Brennan of the AHL's Rockford IceHogs .

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