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Get to Know a Maple Leaf: Connor Carrick

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As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Maple Leafs, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important Leafs players and how they might impact the series.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Carrick

#8 / Defense / Toronto Maple Leafs

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 195 | Born: April 13, 1994

Birthplace: Orland Park, IL | Drafted: 2012 WSH, 5th round, 16th pick (137th overall)

  • Assets: Owns tremendous puck-moving ability and overall mobility from the back end. Also boasts plenty of offensive prowess and can be an asset on the power play at the NHL level.
  • Flaws: Could stand to get physically stronger to withstand the rigors of the National Hockey League schedule. Must also learn to limit his mistakes, with and without the puck, in the NHL.
  • Career Potential: Mobile, puck-moving defenseman with a little upside.

Career 20-Game Rolling Five-on-Five CF% (via Corsica):

2016-17 Usage Chart (via Corsica):

Why you should know who he is: You likely already know who he is! Carrick was drafted by the Caps in 2012 and played 37 games with the hometown squad between 2013 and 2016. He was ultimately shipped to Toronto, along with Brooks Laich and a 2016 2nd round pick, in return for Daniel Winnik and 2016 5th round pick. In his first season as an NHL regular with the Leafs, Carrick paced the team in possession stats with a 52.86 CF%, but despite favorable deployments and quality of teammates, the offensive part of his game hasn’t quite fleshed out yet, as he only notched 8 points on the campaign.

How the Caps can stop him: Carrick has played relatively safe minutes all season long. He’s deployed in the offensive zone more often than not, and usually with the Leaf’s big guns. He also has the lowest QoC.TOI on the Leafs blueline, which means Babcock tends to get him out there against the opponents third and fourth lines and deeper defensive pairs.

With the Capitals boasting three scoring lines heading into the postseason, Barry Trotz shouldn’t have to be too clever to capture Carrick out on the ice against skaters with more firepower than he’s used to defending against. Put the pressure on the young, inexperienced defensemen, and capitalize on his mistakes when he makes them.