Frank Corrado assigned to Marlies on conditioning stint, Froese sent back

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Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com

It was weird enough when things got to this point last year, but this year, the Frank Corrado saga has hit a whole new degree of interesting. This morning, the 23-year-old was loaned to the Toronto Marlies on a 14-day conditioning stint.


The Maple Leafs did the very same thing with Corrado last season, sending him to the Marlies on October 22nd to play seven games with the AHL affiliate. In that stretch, he picked up three assists, seven shots, two penalty minutes, and had a +3 rating.

Up until that point, Corrado had yet to make his Leafs debut, and still took nearly a month and a half to draw in after his time with the team was done. This edition of the loan comes much later into this season, with Corrado having played just one game; a 16:24 effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins where he had two hits, a blocked shot, and took a penalty in a 4-1 loss.

Here’s what the CBA says about these types of loans:

13.8 Conditioning Loan. Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. 

If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate. The Player shall continue, during the period of such Conditioning Loan, to receive the same Paragraph 1 NHL Salary, and be entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.

Last year’s loan drew a lot of conversation and speculation from fans and analysts across the league, who felt that the arrangement was a circumvention of waivers and that Corrado wasn’t the type of player who would need a stint like this. That rings even more true this year; while he was recovering from injuries sustained in Vancouver & Utica the year prior, he’s mentioned being in better shape more than a few times this year.

The Leafs’ focus is likely to get him up to speed in terms of game action. Will the league like it? Probably not, but once again, it’ll likely get a blind eye from the league, given that it sets a precedent for other teams to do the same. The PA will likely be less amused, but since a move like this is typically a mutual agreement, Corrado has likely spoken for himself with the consideration that this gives him a chance to play regularly again.

As for how many games he’ll play, well, it could be another seven; Toronto’s next two weeks involve a pair of road games in Manitoba tomorrow and Wednesday, a pair of home games against Rochester on the 7th and 8th, a home matchup against Wilkes/Barre-Scranton on the 11th, and a home-and-away weekend against Syracuse and Rochester on the 13th and 14th.

In other news, Byron Froese also returns to the Marlies in this transaction. He was called up as an injury replacement on December 21st, and quickly joined by Frederik Gauthier. The Leafs have decided to stay with “The Goat” for now, though; while both play similar NHL roles, the decision is presumably a combination of him being part of their long-term plans and the Marlies needing scoring punch more than two-way help. Froese was pointless and had a fight in his two games with the Leafs, but is second on the Marlies in goals with a dozen over 27 games.

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          • Brent Wisken

            Nope. See below, so i don’t have to repeat myself. Plus, using Corrado’s lack of usage to suggest Polak is a “key” player is not much of an argument. Babcock obviously just doesn’t see much in Corrado, but it is illogical to claim this thereby means Polak is a “key” player.

          • Tigon

            You’re missing the point. Is he a long term piece? No. Is he really any good compared to his peers both on the team and within the league? No. Does Babcock value him and play him a lot, even over players that are probably better and could have a long term place? Yes.

            Therefore, on this team he is a key piece. Like it or not, you don’t have to agree but Babcock says otherwise.

          • Brent Wisken

            Nope, once again. Didn’t miss the point. You are mixing up “key player” with “useful player” (the latter in certain circumstances such as the penalty kill). The adjective “key” is defined in the dictionary as “of paramount or crucial importance”. I find it amusing that you think this description should be applied to Polak. Laughable, it really is.

            As for your claim that he gets played a lot, keep in mind that Polak’s average ice time is less than Rielly, Gardiner, Zaitsev, Marincin, and Hunwick. That doesn’t suggest he is a “key player”, nor does his one year contract that he was given in the summer.

            As mentioned, Matthews, Nylander, Marner, Kadri and Rielly are “key players”, plus you can add in Zaitsev, Gardiner, Brown and Hyman. But once you start adding more players you water down and undermine the word “key” given how often you are using the word. You are stretching the use of the word.

          • Brent Wisken

            Not true. Polak is played as a depth player and is given less minutes than the other d-men. This does not suggest “key” player. Plus, Babcock knew him from last year, yet Polak was only given a one year contract and was brought it as a depth defenseman, which again indicates a non-“key” player.

            Babcock likes to use him in certain circumstances such as the penalty kill, but to suggest he is a “key” player is a stretch of the word. If a player of Polak’s calibre and usage is called a “key player” then 95% of the players on the team are also “key players” due to their skill and particular usage, thereby completely undermining the word “key”. Key players are Matthews, Nylander, Marner, Kadri and Rielly. Other players such as Brown, Hyman, Gardiner and Zaitsev can also be called key players. But see how the list keeps growing? Once you start throwing in more players, the word “key” gets watered down.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            There is some room for both points of view on using the term “key player”

            Polak does have some skills others on defence lack. He is “key” to the penalty kill. Brent is also correct in his interpretation of “key player” It normally refers to guys like Cary Price who is key to any success Montreal has.

            Polak should not be included in that category. The word “important player:” might be more appropriate. Polak is certainly “key” to our penalty kill only.

            Not everyone values a good penalty kill as highly as I do.

          • Harte of a Lion

            When the Leafs need a penalty kill, whether it’s while leading tied or trailing in a game, Polak is always the #1 d unless he was on the ice for some time when the penalty was called. He is a big reason the Leafs PK has been phenomenal lately. I call that “key”
            It has nothing to do with a players minutes but rather how a coach depends on said player at crucial times of a game.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      Very speculative. The are so many options this year, regarding trades.

      No doubt the Leafs want “Frankie ready to step in”

      I think all of us fans now want to have a closer look at his overall game. His situation is rare to say the least. It is good to see something happening for him.

      On the lighter side. Do the Marlies take the bus to Manitoba? It should be a very scenic trip in January. It has to be more fun than hanging around the ACC with the Leafs. Anyone ever been to Portage and Main in the winter. Big wind coming off the prairies.

  • LukeDaDrifter

    It think Corrado is being sent down for exactly the reason stated. ” a conditioning stint”. The question I have now is Marincin back in game shape? Do we have any defencemen in reserve in case of injury?

    • Brent Wisken

      I was thinking about this as well. It doesn’t leave much room for another injury on the back-end. But i was reading on another blog that this type of conditioning stint allows for Corrado to be called up at anytime. Also, for this type of loan, apparently Corrado doesn’t come off the Leafs’ salary cap or the 23-man roster.

  • leafdreamer

    I think people are reading too much into this. Corrado is our 8th best defenceman and, due to waiver eligibility and such, he hasn’t had a chance to play and therefore needs a conditioning stint in order to be able to slot into the lineup in case someone else gets injured (Marincin is already injured which means Corrado is next in line).

    Roman Polak is a key penalty killer and a shut-down defenceman for us right now and we do not have anyone who can replace what he brings in the system. Whether Polak gets traded and if so whether he’s replaced with a player of equivalent value (great penalty killer and a shut-down guy) will tell us a lot about what this management’s plans for the season are. If indeed he is traded and replaced with Corrado we can safely assume that we’re not planning to make the playoffs and that the tank is on.