Photo Credit: @mapleleafs / twitter.com
The process will have taken seventy-one days when all is said and done, but finally, Frank Corrado will play his first game for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, according to head coach Mike Babcock.
Frankie Corrado will make his Leafs debut Tuesday. Per Babcock
— David Alter (@dalter) December 12, 2015
While almost assuredly unrelated, the decision comes a day after Corrado’s former boss, Canucks GM Jim Benning unleashed some pointed words on TSN 1040. From our friends (okay, myself) at Canucks Army:
“We didn’t want him sitting around and not playing. But we’ll see what happens. I’ve been watching what’s going on with him in Toronto, so we’ll see what happens with that,” said Benning, while noting that he and his staff would “look at things” if Corrado were to be up for grabs once again.
“I can’t comment on another team’s player, but usually, when you pick up a player you play him,” he added “But that’s their business and I don’t want to get into what they do.”
While not as bad as when Ron Wilson openly suggested that the Leafs were going to offer the Sedins a paycheque on July 1st, Benning’s comments could be argued to be a form of tampering. What they are for sure, however, are a sign of personal frustration from someone who justified the loss of his sixth-best prospect for free in the fact that he’ll get an opportunity to play.
Obviously, that never quite came to fruition. Corrado played seven games with the Toronto Marlies in a conditioning stint in late October / early November (earning himself three assists), but has now gone well over a month without playing an organized competitive hockey game. His legs will be a little less tired than others, sure, but keeping a 22-year-old away from game situations isn’t helpful in his development.
Last season, Corrado had eight goals and nine assists in 53 regular season and playoff games with the AHL’s Utica Comets, and a goal in ten games with the Canucks. Barring a permanent stay in the lineup and a deep playoff run (cricket sounds), he won’t see that much action this year.
Tuesday will be Mike Babcock’s first look at Corrado, in no small part due to Babcock’s hesitance to pull any of his current players out of the rotation. As for who sits the game out, I would suspect that Martin Marincin is the guy; Babcock likes having a balance of left and right-handed shots in the lineup, which is how Roman Polak manages to constantly avoid these questions. Corrado shoots right, Marincin shoots left, and Marinicin is dead last in average ice time amongst current Leafs defencemen by a full five and a half minutes. Further to the point, he’s played fewer than eleven minutes in three consecutive games, which hints at some slight hesitance on Babcock’s part to have him be more involved.
No matter what happens on Tuesday, it’ll be a special night for Corrado. The native of Woodbridge will have his family and friends on his side, and if nothing else, this is proof that the team remembers that he exists and has, at least, a shred of trust in him. Now, it’s up to him to see what he can do with that shred.