Frank Corrado is trapped.
Granted, he’s trapped in a pretty good place, making thousands of dollars a day on an NHL roster.
But the 23-year-old defenseman has yet to play a game this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And until there’s an injury, he may have to keep waiting.
Not surprisingly, he’s pretty frustrated.
“Twenty three years old and we’re how many games into the season, and I haven’t played a game yet,” Corrado told The Athletic. “It’s one of those things where it’s OK, you get to do all the cool things…but how much longer are you going to be able to do it for if you don’t establish yourself as a player that can keep playing in this league? You want to be in your mid-30s and still be playing here, that’s what you work toward. Just because you fly on the plane and eat the good meals doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be here.”
Corrado played 39 games for the Leafs last season. Though his possession numbers were quite good, he finished minus-12 with just one goal and five assists.
This season, he has Connor Carrick and Nikita Zaitsev to compete with. The Leafs picked up Carrick in a deadline deal with Washington; they signed Zaitsev in May as a free agent. Both shoot right and play the right side, just like Corrado does. Both have dressed for all 13 Toronto games.
Corrado, of course, requires waivers to be sent to the AHL. That’s how he ended up in Toronto, plucked from Vancouver, much to the chagrin of Canucks fans.
Looking ahead, one injury, or one bad stretch from Carrick or Zaitsev, and Corrado may get his chance. You’d think there could be changes after Tuesday’s 7-0 loss to the Kings. The Leafs host the Flyers Friday.
If not, Corrado will continue to practice and continue to wait. His frustration is understandable, especially for a guy who made his NHL debut all the way back in 2013, and even got into four playoff games.
Such is life, which rarely goes as planned.
At the very least, he’s a free agent at the end of the season.