Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SPORTS
The Toronto Maple Leafs defence core might be getting a bit of a temporary thinning out, as second pairing rightie Connor Carrick has left tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets with an upper body injury.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 22, 2017
While it’s not known for sure when Carrick suffered his injury, Alec Brownscombe of Maple Leafs Hot Stove did manage to grab this isolated capture of a hit from Matthew Perreault that might give somewhat of a hint:
Here’s the Mathieu Perreault hit that took Connor Carrick out of the game. pic.twitter.com/24HAuh91h1
— Alec Brownscombe (@MapleLeafsHS) February 22, 2017
The first thought when watching this clip is that the knee contact that the two made might be the issue, but with the official report saying that the injury is upper body, it becomes a bit muddier. The iso somewhat indicates that Perreault may have used his elbow, but it doesn’t look like he gets much higher than Carrick’s shoulder.
The hope here is that Carrick will be fine after tonight, but in the event that he won’t be, Toronto has a couple of options on the right side. The Leafs claimed Alexey Marchenko off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings a two and a half weeks ago and have yet to integrate him into their lineup for a game. Alternatively, the could also call up Frank Corrado or Justin Holl, who have been excellent on the Marlies’ right side. Marchenko would likely be their preferred option, in the sense that Babcock appears to have trust in him and the Marlies are in a position where they really can’t lose too many more players.
The 22-year-old Carrick has two goals and five assists in 54 games with the Leafs, spending most of his time on the second pair with Jake Gardiner, a combination that has led all Leafs pairs in most underlying shot and goal based metrics this season at even strength.