At long last, Frank Corrado will play.
The 22-year-old Maple Leafs defenseman is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday against the visitors from Tampa Bay.
Corrado has yet to appear in an NHL game since being claimed off waivers from Vancouver in October. The only game action he’s experienced has been in the AHL on a conditioning assignment. (He had three assists in seven games for the Marlies.)
“It might take a few shifts to get back in your rhythm,” Corrado told TSN.ca. “[But] once I get out there, it’s the ACC, hometown team, lot of friends and family in the building, I feel like that’ll take care of itself. That’ll be pretty cool.”
How Corrado fares will, of course, be of interest to observers in Toronto. But his debut will also be closely watched in Vancouver, where Canucks GM Jim Benning was widely criticized for allowing the young d-man to be lost for nothing.
“That was a decision … at the time, we had two or three other players ahead of Frankie on the depth chart,” said Benning. “With Frankie, quite honestly, we thought he needed to play to keep getting better as a player. We didn’t want him sitting around and not playing.”
Oddly enough, that’s exactly what he’s been doing in Toronto, where coach Mike Babcock has been sounding more and more frustrated with all the questions about a kid with 28 NHL games on his resume.
“When we talk about how hard it is it sounds like he’s not in the NHL and not getting paid and not flying on the nice plane,” said Babcock. “I have a hard time feeling sorry for guys playing in the National Hockey League, myself.”