LA Kings: Kyle Clifford signing brings finality to 2021 draft pick

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Kyle Clifford will not be re-signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, giving the LA Kings a third-round pick in the 2021 draft.

A victim of the LA Kings‘ rebuild, Kyle Clifford (and Jack Campbell) was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the trade deadline for a third-round pick in 2020 and a conditional third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Conditional meaning that the pick would be elevated to a second-round pick if Kyle Clifford re-signed with the Leafs.

But it appears he’s headed to St. Louis.

Clifford, 29, was drafted in the second round by the Kings in 2009, making his debut in the 2010-2011 season, scoring 7 goals with 7 assists in 76 games.

And despite a less-than-stellar 2013-2014 regular season (3G, 5A), Clifford will forever be remembered for what unfolded in double overtime of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Clifford received a stretch pass from Alec Martinez at center ice and immediately dished it to Tyler Toffoli on his right. Toffoli fired a one-timer at Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist, where Martinez cleaned up the rebound and put it into the back of the net to win the Stanley Cup.

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In terms of a fit for the Blues, Clifford will provide a veteran presence on the bottom six, and he’ll bring an element of physicality that every team needs. Similar to fellow free agent Trevor Lewis, he’s not a big goal scorer, but Clifford does a lot of the little things right.

The LA Kings used the Maple Leafs’ pick in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft to select Alex Laferriere.