What Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Do With Frank Corrado?

Nov 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado (20) takes the ice before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado (20) takes the ice before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Frank Corrado has finally spoken out about his lack of playing time this season and the situation is starting to become a distraction for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Fans of the Leafs and media personnel alike, are now repeatedly questioning why Corrado hasn’t played more this season? The Leafs have lost seven out of their last 10 games, with a combined record of 3-3-4 (10 points out of a possible 20).

With the team not picking up the wins they were in early/mid November, it seemed the perfect time for Corrado to vent his frustrations:

"“Everyone on our back end gets a chance to play except me… at the end of the day, the coach is the one who makes the lineup and if the coach doesn’t like you, then you’re not going to play. And that’s where I’m at right now.” Corrado told The Athletic."

So, Corrado believes head coach Mike Babcock has not been selecting him for personal reasons. Babcock, however, responded to this statement and appeared to have a different opinion on the situation:

"This is what I’m disappointed in – I’m disappointed he feels that way. If you think me liking you has anything to do with whether you play or don’t play, you’re missing the boat big time. I love the guys and I’m hoping for all of them that they do well. Whether you go in the lineup or not is based on how you play, period, nothing personal. Babcock said on Thursday."

The Toronto native believes it’s personal, but the coach thinks he is simply not playing well enough to earn a place in the team’s top 6. Regardless of the reason, Corrado is a 23-year old player that is being wasted and not getting the opportunity to develop his game further.

So what options do the team have moving forward?

Keep The Status Quo

As things stand, this is the most likely route for the team. The former Detroit Red Wings’ head coach is a man of conviction and will stick to his decision no matter what – as evidenced by his determination not to play Peter Holland.

After Corrado’s recent discussion with the media, it appears Babcock will have even less intention of giving the former Vancouver Canucks’ fifth round pick a chance. Martin Marincin has suffered an injury recently and will miss an extended period of time, pushing Corrado closer to the team’s top 6 – making him now reliant on another injury for him to have a chance.

Risk Him To Waivers

Corrado was picked up by the Leafs when the Canucks tried to send him down to the AHL, placing him on the waiver wire, and this is a position he could find himself in again. He still has many more years in the game and could develop into a solid NHL player if he is given an opportunity to play regularly.

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If the Leafs are truly comfortable with Corrado not playing for them this year, then risking him to the waiver wire is a quick and easy way of dealing with the situation. Should he be picked up by another NHL team, then the Leafs get $600,000 in cap relief and no longer have to deal with the numerous questions surrounding him.

However, what if Corrado clears waivers? Then he could be assigned to the Marlies and can develop his game in the AHL for the remainder of the season, playing alongside promising defenceman Andrew Nielsen. So why not just take the risk, if the head coach isn’t willing to give him much opportunity?

Trade Corrado For Cheap

If the Leafs truly don’t want to give away a young player for nothing, why not go the same route as with Holland? Trade Corrado for a 6th or 7th round pick.

Even a conditional pick should be a possibility at this point. If the team is able to get a return on a player they claimed on waivers, surely that’s worth more than the continuous questions posed by fans and the media?

Even Holland, who was originally traded along with Brad Staubitz to the Leafs for Jesse Blacker and two picks in the 2014 NHL draft, was traded away for just a conditional 2018 draft pick. So why can’t Corrado receive the same?

Package Him In A Larger Trade

The Leafs have long been rumoured to be looking to make a trade for a top 4 defenceman and a trade for that kind of player could require a package deal. Corrado, as a young player with unknown potential, could conceivably be included in such a deal.

James van Riemsdyk has been included in a number of trade rumours for this desired defenceman, but creating a package and including Corrado could mean the team doesn’t have to part with one of their most important players. The team is still in rebuild mode and improving without subtracting from its existing top-end talent would go much further to turning them into playoff contenders.

Play The Man

At this stage, this seems to be the least likely option after Corrado’s recent comments. Babcock seems satisfied to leave him on the sidelines, preferring to give Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick every opportunity, despite fans crying out for change.

Corrado is a young player that deserves an opportunity to show what he can do with extended playing time. With the Leafs looking less likely to make the playoffs this season – why can’t it be with them?

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So what do you think the Leafs should do with Corrado? Do you believe he isn’t worth the trouble? Or are you a strong advocate for #FreeCorrado? Share your thoughts in the comments section.