No one really expects players claimed off the waiver wire to do that well. After all, being placed on waivers usually means that the player is being sent down to the minors. That’s true most of the time. However the Toronto Maple Leafs have had a recent success and they hope to do it again this season.
Early last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed Richard Panik on waivers and the Leafs picked him up. Panik would go on to play 76 games, a career-high, while scoring 11 goals and a total of 17 points. Not the best numbers in the world for sure, but it was pretty good compared to what was happening with most of the Leafs.
Now the Leafs will try to do the same thing again this season as they have claimed defenseman Frank Corrado. Originally expected to be a building block on the Vancouver Canucks blue line, they have now lost him for nothing. Apparently the Canucks tried to trade him when he they decided that he would not stick with the team, but apparently there were no takers. At least, hopefully there were no takers, because if even if a team offered something as low as a seventh-round pick, it would be more than the nothing they got back by waiving him.
Corrado has played 25 games with the Canucks over the past two seasons, scoring two goals in that time. He has 35 points in 97 career AHL games to go along with that. Again, not the best numbers, but you have to take into account that he has not been around the League that long. The most important thing that he brings to the Leafs is something very simple. He’s a right-handed shot.
Corrado’s Real Value
A right-handed defenseman is a valued commodity around the NHL. Prior to the acquisition of Corrado, the Leafs only had three right-handers on their roster. You’d think that was pretty good until you look at who they are: Roman Polak, Stephane Robidas and Petter Granberg. Polak did not have a good preseason and was a healthy scratch in the season opener on Wednesday night. Robidas and Granberg are hurt at the moment, but neither were going to be high on the Leafs depth chart.
Corrado has been considered to be ready for the NHL for a few seasons now. He should have more of an opportunity to play with the Leafs. Babcock is on record on the situation of having only left-handed defenseman and he doesn’t like it. We heard it in the 24/7 special for the Leafs & Red Wings Winter Classic a couple years back. It came back Wednesday night where every defenseman in the Leafs lineup was left-handed.
Oddly enough, in order to make room for Corrado, the Leafs placed Panik on waivers and sent him down to the Marlies after he cleared. Corrado hopefully won’t have the same thing happen to him next season.