Toronto Maple Leafs: 10 Storylines to Follow This Seasons

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Apr 4, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) controls the puck while stopping during the third period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Young Defenders Struggling to Earn Ice-time

The Leafs blueline has been a work in progress this season with Babcock and while he was in Detroit he did not have many young defencemen on the blueline. In Toronto he has put a lot of faith in Rielly and Gardiner to be the best players on the blueline but they are the only young players earning consistent ice-time from Babcock. Phaneuf still leads the team in average ice-time per game at 22:35 minutes per game. However Hunwick and Rielly lead the Leafs defencemen in average ice-time at even strength.

Nov 12, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman

Scott Harrington

(36) handles the puck behind the goal during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Leafs acquired three young defencemen this past offseason in Scott Harrington, Martin Marincin and Frankie Corrado. Harrington and Marincin have been in and out of the lineup this season as Babcock has been more inclined to keep Polak in especially on the penalty kill. Corrado has not even dressed in a game this season which must be frustrating because he was claimed off waivers by the Leafs.

Sep 25, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman

Frank Corrado

(26) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

This is the reality of playing for Babcock, in the 2014 Olympics he had Subban on the bench or in a limited role because he wanted more steady options instead. At this point the younger defencemen will have to be patient and wait for an opportunity to play if a player gets injured or traded. Going forward the Leafs will see their fair share of young defencemen but right now it seems like a waste having a couple of these players sitting in the press box and waiting for an opportunity to play. Maybe sending Harrington down to Marlies would benefit him more because he does not have to clear waivers and he can earn consistent ice-time.

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