Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado will finally see the ice after playing but one NHL game this season. Corrado has been a healthy scratch for almost the entire season—minus a week long conditioning stint in the AHL—because of Toronto’s blue line logjam.
The young defenseman took to the media earlier this year to express his frustration with the lack of playing time. Corrado remained a healthy scratch despite gaining muscle and working hard every practice. He questioned whether coach Mike Babcock liked him, and whether he fit into the team’s plan.
With star defenseman Morgan Rielly out, however, Corrado finally gains his chance to show the team what he brings to the table. Rielly suffered a lower body injury against the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night, and it is unclear how many games the blue line mainstay will miss. According to the Athletic’s James Mirtle, Corrado will man the left side on a third pairing with Connor Carrick. Mirtle expects Corrado to get around 13 minutes of playing time.
The Maple Leafs will have to rely on its defensive depth to weather Rielly’s injury. Rielly plays over 22 minutes a night on the top pairing with the surprise breakout defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. Defenseman Jake Gardiner is expected to shoulder an increased load while Rielly remains sidelined. If Frank Corrado can impress Mike Babcock over the next few games, his current situation may change for the better.