Frank Corrado

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Maple Leafs claim Marchenko; waive Corrado

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Alexey Marchenko was the odd man out for the Detroit Red Wings on Friday when the team activated Brendan Smith from injured reserve.

That resulted in him being placed on waivers by the team after a promising 2015-16 season that earned him a two-year, $2.9 million contract over the summer.

On Saturday, they lost him when the Toronto Maple Leafs scooped him up on the waiver wire.

To make room for Marchenko on their roster the Maple Leafs waived defenseman Frank Corrado in a corresponding move.

Marchenko, who played in 30 games for the Red Wings this season, had been a top penalty killer for the team and had recorded six assists before being waived on Friday. Even though his play has regressed a bit this season from where it was a year ago this is still a nice pickup for the Maple Leafs given that it cost them nothing other than a waiver claim and a little bit of cap space for the rest of the season.

The 23-year-old Corrado has not really been in a fit in Toronto this season and has seemingly failed to gain the trust of coach Mike Babcock. He has only appeared in two games for the Maple Leafs this season and has been frustrated with his limited chances.

Rangers overwhelm Leafs, make life pretty easy for Lundqvist in win

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Heading into Thursday, many were wondering how the New York Rangers will handle Henrik Lundqvist‘s struggles. Instead, the focus shifted to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ difficulties, perhaps specifically in dealing with Morgan Rielly‘s absence.

The Rangers handily won this one 5-2, at least giving Lundqvist the win. He wasn’t especially busy, stopping 23 out of 25 shots, so you can probably file his story under “To be continued.”

Lundqvist wasn’t oblivious to his team’s impressive overall play.

Really, it was all about the waves of attackers the Rangers can send at opponents and the trouble that caused for the Maple Leafs. It wasn’t the easiest night for Frank Corrado, in particular, who took a couple costly penalties.

The Rangers’ next two games come in a road contest vs. the Red Wings on Sunday and a home game against the Kings on Monday. Perhaps those matches will serve as a better barometer for where Lundqvist’s really at, as he passed tonight’s test … but it wasn’t a particularly difficult one.

Rielly’s injury means opportunities for Gardiner and Corrado

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The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without their best defenseman tonight against the Rangers, and possibly for a few more games after that. Morgan Rielly is day-to-day with a lower-body injury after crashing into the boards Tuesday against Buffalo.

With Rielly out, Jake Gardiner will step into the top-pairing role with Nikita Zaitsev. It’s a big responsibility for the 26-year-old Gardiner. The Leafs are right in the thick of the playoff race, and they don’t want to lose ground.

“You’re playing against the best guys every shift,” head coach Mike Babcock said, per the Toronto Sun. “The best guys tend to be harder on the defensemen, so you just have to handle it. Jake has become a way better defender and can move the puck, so he does not spend a whole lot of time in his zone. We will see how it goes here today, but Zaitsev is a good player to play with too and it should be a good pair for us.”

Gardiner has spent most of the season on Toronto’s second pair alongside Connor Carrick, who will now skate with Frank Corrado. The other pairing will stay the same: Roman Polak with Matt Hunwick.

Rielly’s injury also presents an opportunity for Corrado to prove he belongs in the lineup. The 23-year-old has been limited to just one game with the Leafs this season; he was recently down in the AHL on a conditioning assignment.

Read more: Frustrated Corrado sounds off

“I think he went down there and tried to work real hard and be a real good pro, which I think is real important when you’re a veteran guy and you play with those kids,” Babcock said of Corrado, per Maple Leafs Hot Stove. “That’s positive, and now he gets his opportunity here.”

Saga continues: Leafs send little-used Corrado to AHL for conditioning

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If Frank Corrado was hoping for a fresh start in 2017, he sorta got his wish.

On Monday, the Leafs announced Corrado had been sent to the AHL Marlies on a conditioning stint. This puts a halt to one of the most infamous NHL “campaigns” of the year — Corrado, 25, has been on the active roster the entire season yet sat as a healthy scratch for 35 of Toronto’s 36 games.

His lone appearance came in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 12 –he received just 16:24 of ice time, the least of any Leafs defenseman.

Back in mid-December, a visibly frustrated Corrado voiced his displeasure.

“At the end of the day, the coach is the one who makes the lineup and if the coach doesn’t like you, then you’re not going to play,” he said on Thursday, per The Athletic. “And that’s where I’m at right now.”

Corrado was asked about his situation following the trade of another little-used Leaf — Peter Holland, who was flipped to Arizona after a series of healthy scratches. Holland, like Corrado, was never regarded as a Babcock favorite.

Corrado repeated several times he finds this current situation frustrating, though he did say that GM Lou Lamoriello has been supportive, and insists the club wants the d-man in the mix. But Lamoriello doesn’t want to lose an asset for nothing — which could happen if he waives Corrado to try and send him to the Marlies — so he has to keep him with the Leafs.

Or, send him for a two-week stint with the Marlies.

It’ll be curious to see how Corrado reacts to this latest development because, back in mid-December, he sounded like a guy nearing his breaking point.

“It’s frustrating now,” Corrado said. “When you don’t get to play for a month and a half, and you’ve played in one game all year, it takes its toll on you mentally… Yeah, you’re in the NHL. It’s not that the novelty has worn off; it’s just that it’s time to play. It’s time to have a career.

“I feel like the more I’m not playing, that’s food off my table. That’s kind of the way I see it right now.”

‘If the coach doesn’t like you then you’re not going to play,’ says a frustrated Corrado

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Frank Corrado is 23 years old. He’s appeared in 68 career NHL contests for Toronto and Vancouver, and another 100 more at the AHL level.

This year, though, he’s not playing at all. Quite literally.

Corrado’s appeared in just one of Toronto’s 28 games this season and, in that contest — a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 12 –he received just 16:24 of ice time, the least of any Leafs defenseman.

So take it away, Frank!

“At the end of the day, the coach is the one who makes the lineup and if the coach doesn’t like you, then you’re not going to play,” he said on Thursday, per The Athletic. “And that’s where I’m at right now.”

Corrado was asked about his situation following the trade of another little-used Leaf — Peter Holland, who was flipped to Arizona after a series of healthy scratches. Holland, like Corrado, was never regarded as a Babcock favorite.

Corrado repeated several times he finds this current situation frustrating, though he did say that GM Lou Lamoriello has been supportive, and insists the club wants the d-man in the mix. But Lamoriello doesn’t want to lose an asset for nothing — which could happen if he waives Corrado to try and send him to the Marlies — so he has to keep him with the Leafs.

That, in turn, means the issue essentially comes down to the head coach.

And to hear Corrado explain it, things might be near their breaking point.

“It’s frustrating now,” Corrado said. “When you don’t get to play for a month and a half, and you’ve played in one game all year, it takes its toll on you mentally… Yeah, you’re in the NHL. It’s not that the novelty has worn off; it’s just that it’s time to play. It’s time to have a career. I feel like the more I’m not playing, that’s food off my table. That’s kind of the way I see it right now.”

It’s fair to suggest Corrado would have some market value. He’s on a team-friendly contract (one-year, $600,000), is a right-shot blueliner and has shown to be a good offensive producer at times — like in ’14-15, when he had seven goals and 16 points in 35 games for AHL Utica.