Toronto Maple Leafs 2016-17 Season Review: Connor Carrick

Feb 15, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Connor Carrick (8) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 15, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Connor Carrick (8) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

It was an up and down year for Connor Carrick who was looking to make the permanent jump to the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Over the next few weeks we will be looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 2016-17 season and reviewing how each player performed this year. Our season in review will start with the defence, move to the goalies and finish with the forwards. Next up in our season review is defenceman Connor Carrick.

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a low risk move when they signed Connor Carrick to a two-year contract extension in the summer, with a cap hit of $750,000. Heading into the season, the 23-year old was coming off a strong performance in the Calder Cup playoffs with 18 points in 15 games. However, he had never played more than 60 games at the NHL level and the Leafs defence did not have a lot if experience heading into it.

He made the opening night roster playing with Jake Gardiner then moved up and down the depth chart. Although he was a more offensive minded player in the AHL, he embraced the defensive challenges that head coach Mike Babcock put him in.

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“Carrick gets the puck moving, doesn’t play a lot in his own zone, he’s mean, he likes to cross-check people,” Babcock said to reporters back in March. “I like that. He can get (the puck) through from the blue line, too.”

He missed almost a month with an upper-body injury after a collision with Mathieu Perrault. Up to that point, Carrick was playing consistent minutes and was a positive possession player although he was not putting up stellar offensive numbers.

Once he returned, he was not as effective and saw a decline in his minutes and seeing some bad luck offensively with a low shooting percentage. He is definitely a player that has more to his game and Carrick is at the point where he needs to find a consistent level to play at. He had some time to get familiar with Babcock’s system when he was acquired from the Washington Capitals, but unlike his time with the Marlies he seems to shift his focus to the defensive side of the game.

Season Statistics:

standard NHL career statistics
ScoringGoalsAssistsShotsIce Time

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Generated 5/31/2017.

Playoff Stats

NHL Playoffs Table
ScoringGoalsIce Time

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3 things to know about Carrick’s 2016-17 season

  1. Where Carrick’s struggles became more apparent was in the playoffs to the point where he was not getting minutes late in the game and Martin Marincin was getting more playing time. It seemed like the Capitals physical play was too much for him to deal with.
  2. Carrick played a career high 67 games and missed over a month to an injury. That along with the tough match ups that Babcock had him playing was a major adjustment for Carrick and considering all that he did not have a terrible season. With more games and a consistent partner to play with, it would not be tough to expect a better season from him.
  3. It would benefit Carrick to try and have more of a presence offensively. He was not shooting the puck as much when he returned from his injury against the Boston Bruins on March 20th. From that point on he only registered one point in 12 games.

2017-18 Season Outlook

The first question that will need to be answered before next season is whether the Leafs will choose to protect Carrick. The only way that he realistically gets exposed for the expansion draft is if he were to be traded, or the Leafs pick up another defenceman that needs to be protected. If he were to get exposed he would be the type of player that the Vegas Golden Knights would want.

Next: Leafs could be a possibility for Ilya Kovalchuk

Given that he is only 23-years old, and that he is a right-handed shot defenceman it would make more sense for the Leafs to try and keep him around if they are unable to make a deal prior to the expansion draft. It would be tough to expect him to be back in a top four role next season and he will have some competition for a spot on the team with Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman and Travis Dermott expected to be in the mix.