The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Let Kyle Clifford Walk in Free Agency

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 09: Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) waits for a faceoff during the Los Angeles Kings versus the Montreal Canadiens game on November 09, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 09: Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) waits for a faceoff during the Los Angeles Kings versus the Montreal Canadiens game on November 09, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Kyle Clifford along with Jack Campell a few weeks before the NHL trade deadline.

It was a good trade because the Toronto Maple Leafs needed to solidify their back-up goaltending situation.

Jack Campbell has been a great player for the Leafs.

And Kyle Clifford?  Not so much.

Toronto Maple Leafs Don’t Need Clifford

Clifford was sold as a tough guy who could play, and his numbers in Los Angeles certainly backed that up.

In Toronto, however, he has been a disappointment.

With one goal, three points and generally lousy numbers, there is no reason for Kyle Clifford to be taking up a roster spot on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

People will bemoan the Leafs lack of toughness, but that just isn’t there game.  Accept it. Even if they wanted to add toughness to their lineup, 9:20 per night on the fourth line doesn’t really address that need.

47% of the shot-attempts.

47% of the shots.

45% of the goals.

44% of the expected goals.

43% of the scoring chances.

46% of the dangerous scoring chances.

And zero offensive production. (All stats naturalstattrick.com).

No matter how you look at it, Clifford has hurt the team when he has played. With options such as Adam Brooks, Nic Petan or Pontus Aberg, the Toronto Maple Leafs do not need Kyle Clifford.

Not only should they refuse to re-sign him, but if the season resumes, they shouldn’t even have him in the starting lineup.

Kyle Clifford is the Leafs worst player, and what does it matter if he body checks or fights other team’s fourth liners?  All he has done so far in his time here is make the team worse when he plays.

Now the sample size with the Leafs is not very large.  But even if he improves, he still takes too many dumb penalties, and he won’t sign for the league minimum anyways, which alone should rule out signing him.

He is 29 years old, he isn’t getting any better.  He is what he is, and that just isn’t a player on a contending team.

His current salary is $1.6 million, which is ridiculous, but at least the Toronto Maple Leafs are only taking 50% of the cap hit.

Assuming he wants a raise – which he almost certainly will – the contract would go from preposterous to down right criminal.  You can’t pay players like this more than the league minimum.  Ever.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will not re-sign this player, and they honestly shouldn’t even consider doing so.  Too old, too much money, doesn’t score, and so far has hurt the team when playing.

dark. Next. Leafs Are Contenders, Here's Why:

You can’t win enough fights (which should be banned from hockey anyways) to make players like this good.   In fact, you don’t need to dress any fighters, and the Leafs should make being a “tough” team about as much of a priority as being a team that excels calligraphy.