The Toronto Maple Leafs are making their final preparations for the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season and with expectations at an all time high you can expect that the Leafs will do everything in their power to field the best possible group they can.
Surprisingly it sounds like that may include trading one of the players that many believed would prove himself to be a long term asset for the Maple Leafs on the blue line. According to a report from The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta the Toronto Maple Leafs are now actively shopping defenseman Connor Carrick due to the fact that he does not factor into the organizations plans as far as their top 6 defensemen are concerned.
The 24 year old blue liner was once considered a core component of the trade that sent veteran forward Daniel Winnik to the Washington Capitals but it now appears that players like 26 year old defenseman Justin Holl have moved past him. With players like Holl establishing themselves on the depth chart it leaves Carrick the odd man out and it seems like general manager Kyle Dubas would prefer to move him now while his value remains relatively high given his strong performance with the Marlies this past season.
Additionally it sounds like the Leafs are receiving some interest on the Carrick front, although at this time it's unclear how far those conversations have progressed. Pagnotta is reporting that based on his sources it sounds like some "early conversations" have taken place between the Maple Leafs and prospective suitors for Carrick already. What's particular curious about the decision to trade him though is the fact that the Leafs really are not under any pressure to do so.
As things currently stand Carrick lacks the degree of NHL experience one requires in order to be waiver eligible, this effectively means that the Maple Leafs could in theory send Carrick back down to the American Hockey League without risking losing Carrick to waivers. Given his strong performance in the past as a member of the Toronto Marlies this would seem like an ideal compromise but the Leafs do not appear to be interested in making that move. Additionally early reports out of training camp suggested that Carrick was arguably in the best shape of any Leaf on the roster which also indicate that his work ethic is not the issue here.
In spite of all that however it now appears that the Maple Leafs are not even considering Carrick as a viable back up option for their blue line which either speaks to the fact that there's something more than meets the eye, or perhaps simply that the Leafs feel his value is at a point where dealing him makes the most sense.
Carrick is a former Washington Capitals 5th round pick (137th overall) from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and he has spent his entire NHL career thus far split between those capitals and the Maple Leafs. Carrick currently has 167 career games played and has recorded 9 goals and 21 sssists for a total of 30 points over his career thus far.