An expansion team that came into the NHL in 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have as much history when it comes to trading as the Leafs do with other franchises.
That said, over their 18-year existence, the Blue Jackets have dealt with the Leafs four times when it comes to moving players. While none of these trades were overly significant in the make-up of these teams at the time they were executed, there were some well-known names involved in these moves.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the only four trades the two teams have engaged in since the NHL’s expansion to Columbus.
Trading AHL Talents
Almost 21 years after trading his father, the Leafs acquired forward Kerby Rychel from the Blue Jackets in exchange for Scott Harrington and a 2017 conditional pick on Jun. 25, 2016.
While Rychel did see 37 games with the Jackets prior to the trade, he never played a game for the Maple Leafs and instead was a mainstay for their AHL affiliate Marlies. For two seasons, he played well in the AHL for Toronto, but became a piece in the Leafs trade for Tomas Plekanec in Feb. 25, 2018. Still, he hasn’t seen any NHL time since that trade either.
Harrington played 15 games for the Leafs before the trade with one assist to show for it. Since then, he’s played 53 games for the Jackets over parts of two seasons. Over that span, he has three goals and seven points. While he’s been more of an NHL stand-in, Harrington has spent more time in the AHL over the past four season with the exception of the 2017-18.
Because Harrington wasn’t claimed on waivers during the 2016-17 season, which was the condition on the pick, the Leafs retained their 2017 fifth-round pick and used it to take Fedor Gordeev with the 141st overall selection.
Horton for Clarkson, A Money Trade
The Leafs got caught in a bad contract when they signed David Clarkson to a seven-year deal worth $36.75 million on Jul. 5, 2013. But, it took them just a year and a half to rid themselves of that contract. The catch, however is that they had to take on another injury-riddled contract in the deal.
On Feb. 26, 2015, the Leafs moved Clarkson to the Blue Jackets for the contract of Nathan Horton. At the time, Clarkson had five years left on his deal with an annual average value (AAV) of $5.25 million, while Horton had five years left at an AAV of $5.3 million.
While Horton was able to be placed on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) and never played a game for the Leafs, Clarkson played a total of 26 games for the Jackets. He tallied two goals and four points but hasn’t played a game since the 2015-16 season.
Clarkson was traded to the Golden Knights on Jun. 21, 2017 as part of their Expansion Draft considerations. The trade saw the Jackets move Clarkson, their 2017 first-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick to Vegas in exchange for the Jackets picking from a handful of players. In that, the Knights also ended up with William Karlsson who is having an incredible season in Vegas’ inaugural year.
On Jul. 1, 2014, the Leafs re-acquired forward Matt Frattin from Columbus in exchange for forward Jerry D’Amigo and a 2015 conditional seventh-round pick.
Frattin was originally drafted by the Leafs in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 99th overall. He played 82 games with the Leafs in his first stint with the team, tallying 15 goals and 28 points.
With stops in Los Angeles and Columbus in between, Frattin’s return to the Leafs wasn’t long-lived. He played just nine games for the Leafs in 2014-15 with no points. While he spent some time in the AHL after that, he’s since joined the KHL and Swiss-A leagues overseas.
As for D’Amigo, he never really caught on. He played just 22 games for the Leafs in 2013-14 before he was traded, picking up a goal and three points. Mind you, he saw just over eight minutes per game, but he never really fit into what the Leafs were looking to do moving forward.
He never played a game with the Blue Jackets and was quickly traded to Buffalo where he saw action in nine games for the Sabres. He’s played the last two seasons in Finland with Ilves Tampere and KalPa Kuopio.
Big Luke Richardson
Finally, the first trade these two teams engaged in came back on Mar. 8, 2006, when the Leafs acquired big defenceman Luke Richardson.
Richardson, who was originally drafted by the Leafs seventh overall in 1987, spent his first four seasons with the Leafs. While he racked up 11 goals and 50 points in 299 regular season games in a Leafs uniform, he only had three assists in 21 games in his return to Toronto. From there he had stops in Tampa Bay and Ottawa before ending his NHL career in 2008-09.
With the pick – a fifth-rounder in 2006 – the Blue Jackets took Nick Sucharski with the 136th overall selection. Sucharski never played in the NHL with his last stint coming with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the CHL.
While none of these are really blockbuster deals, did either team win any of these trades? Be sure to leave your thoughts by commenting below. Otherwise, make sure you stay tuned when we take a closer look at the five most recent trades between the Leafs and Dallas Stars.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.