The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Connor Carrick to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Maple Leafs announced Monday. The pick can become a sixth-round pick if Carrick plays in 50 games with the Stars in 2018-19.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 1, 2018
Carrick was traded to the Maple Leafs in 2016 just prior to the trade deadline along with Brooks Laich and a second-round pick in 2016 in a deal that saw the Maple Leafs trade Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round pick to the Washington Capitals. The 24-year-old defender would end up playing in 120 games with the Maple Leafs over three seasons, scoring eight goals and 24 points in that time.
A fifth-round pick in 2012, Carrick has yet to solidify himself as a consistent NHL defender at this point in his career. While he’s flashed potential and is still only 24 years old, Carrick’s inability to crack the Maple Leafs lineup this season made him expendable and he was expected to be waived by the team prior to the start of the season.
A lack of penalty killing experience has also worked against Carrick in his career and the Maple Leafs opted to go with options they deemed more reliable and versatile. While Carrick failing to make the Maple Leafs, a team widely considered weak defensively, may seem like a major indictment on Carrick’s ability, there was undoubtedly going to be interest in him on the waiver wire.
Though Carrick may not be a clear-cut NHL defender yet, there is still a chance for him to grab the brass ring and claim a spot given his natural ability and hard-working nature. The Stars are a team that was in need of more depth on the right side and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Carrick get game action with the team this season.
While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll skate in 50 games, kicking the condition into effect, there’s a chance that he breaks out and shows he’s more than just a depth defender at this point in his career.
At the same time, there’s also the chance that he doesn’t take a step forward and continues to develop at the same rate he has to this point in his career. Either way, the Stars are getting good value for a known commodity and depth defender for only a seventh-round pick and at most a sixth-round pick.
This is a minor deal that likely won’t have much consequence on the Maple Leafs this season. For the Stars, however, the addition of Carrick as depth was a solid move heading into the season, especially with such little downside in the deal. Rather than hoping Carrick would fall to them if he was indeed placed on waivers, the Stars ultimately took actions into their own hands and made sure they had priority.