Today, the Leafs made the move some had been suspecting for a while – replacing Frank Corrado with a different good, young, right-handed defenseman – one that Babcock can comfortably use.
Marchenko got 13 games under Babcock in his last year as the coach of the Red Wings. Since Babcock joined the Maple Leafs, Marchenko has had a more steady role on the veteran Red Wings blueline until very recently. Playing 96 games and scoring 17 points over the last 1.5 seasons, Marchenko is certainly a more recently battle-tested option than Corrado.
Frank Corrado, despite coming in with a lot of hype and promise, never found the trust of Babcock and was used almost entirely as the 8th defenseman. He existed on the roster purely as injury protection, playing just 2 games this season. One of which was purely because he was healthy and Marincin and Rielly were not.
It’s possible the Leafs have the same in mind for Marchenko, but there’s also a potential to have him replace Roman Polak on the bottom pairing after an upcoming, long-foreseen deadline deal renting Polak away.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Marchenko fits into this Maple Leafs’ defense that has thus far been both well-established and under-performing.