Sidelined Maple Leafs defenseman Connor Carrick will be back in the lineup for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they take on their long time rivals the Boston Bruins tonight.
Carrick had played 55 games this season on Toronto’s blue line, accumulating 2 goals, 5 assists, and a plus/minus of +8 before going down on February 21st. He has fully recovered from the upper-body injury he sustained against the Winnipeg Jets, and will be welcomed back into the lineup.
Carrick was acquired last year near the trade deadline for forward Daniel Winnik in a trade with the Washington Capitals that included a second-round pick and forward Brooks Laich. Carrick played 16 games for Toronto last season, and 5 with Washington before the trade.
It may be a season or two before the 22-year-old from Orland Park, Illinois cracks into the Maple Leafs top defensive pairings, but the extra depth on the back end couldn’t come at a better time for the Leafs.
Toronto is sitting in the Eastern Conference’s final wildcard spot with 79 points and a dozen games left to play, the scramble for this last spot in the playoffs is incredibly tight. The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay lightning are within two points of Toronto, so all players on the Leafs’ bench need to be playing their A-game if they want to complete an incredible Cinderella season in Toronto.
Carrick is yet another part of Toronto’s young rebuild under head coach Mike Babcock, which also incudes Auston Mathews, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander.