As a young defenseman in the National Hockey League, your main goal should be to crack the roster. At least, it is the goal for many young blue liners in Toronto, like Connor Carrick, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Igor Oshiganov and Calle Rosen, who are working towards making the roster when the season opens next Wednesday. While many options appear to sound good to management and general manager Kyle Dubas, it is bad news for one of the aforementioned players who is expected to land on the trade block shortly.
According to the editor in chief of The Fourth Period David Pagnotta, the Maple Leafs are actively shopping Carrick, who isn’t in their top-six plans. Pagnotta adds that some conversations with interested clubs have already taken place.
On Thursday, there seemed to be a clear sign of where head coach Mike Babcock saw Carrick fit, and it wasn't a good outlook for the young blue liner. The 24-year-old skated with the Leafs secondary practice group in training camp, pairing with Martin Marincin as part of a group that is expected to be assigned to the Toronto Marlies later this week.
Carrick did not want to read into the lines at practice and what it could mean for his future with the team.
“I don’t read into things too much, I’m just grateful to be here, still representing the Toronto Maple Leafs, and fighting for a job,” Carrick said Thursday to the Toronto Star.
However, with Pagnotta's latest update, he might have to start reading into things...
Carrick appeared in 114 games in each of the past two seasons with the Maple Leafs, and tallied four goals and 12 points in 47 games last season. He wasn't part of the postseason lineup for the first round of the playoffs where Toronto was eliminated in seven games by the Boston Bruins.
Carrick, who was acquired at the trade deadline in 2016 from the Washington Capitals, does not need to clear waivers if the Leafs choose to send him back down. However, there could be interest for his services on the trade market, despite the fact that Pagnotta did not mention potential suitors at the moment.
The young defender has amassed one assist and a plus-1 rating in three exhibition games and is expected to play in exhibition finale in Toronto on Saturday.