A lot of players have come and gone from the Maple Leafs organization in the past few years. In a few short years many of those players will be answers to trivia questions. David Clarkson will be noted for earning a 10-game suspension in his debut with the team for hopping off the bench to fight in a pre-season game. Olli Jokinen will be noted for earning one assist during his 16 day stint with the Leafs, the 9th of 10 teams for which he’s played in his NHL career. Peter Holland will be remembered for his gross finger-toes.
There are also many others who will be long forgotten. Not many will recall Jerred Smithson, Paul Ranger, or Drew MacIntyre’s unremarkable times with the team. However, there is one player who appeared in only a handful of games that will definitely stay fresh in many minds because of his controversial deployment, namely to the press box for weeks on end.
A week has now passed since the NHL trade deadline on which the Maple Leafs made a single notable move: acquiring Eric Fehr from the Pittsburgh Penguins [Is Boyle chopped meat? - Acha]. Among picks and other prospects, one name stuck out going back to Pittsburgh: Frankie Corrado.
Corrado was born in ‘the 416’, only a few months before ‘the 905’ existed (anyone else remember getting the little blue 416/905 hologram ruler in school?). By 2015, long after the "mega-city merger," there was real fanfare when Toronto-born Corrado was claimed off waivers from the Canucks.
Of course, it wasn’t simply because he was from Toronto that he was claimed; he was perceived to be an asset with positive mid-term value that Vancouver Canucks’ GM Jim Benning had put on the waiver wire. Canucks fans were not exactly happy with that decision.
Benning summed up the next steps needed of Corrado quite succinctly.
Benning talked to 10 to 15 teams about a trade for Corrado. Nothing worked out. "To develop, Corrado needs to play."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 6, 2015
And play he would!
It took some time, but we warmed up to Corrado. His first and only ever goal as a Maple Leaf was in a wild game against the Anaheim Ducks on March 25 2016, which the Leafs ultimately won 6-5.
Despite his lack of time on ice, we rated Corrado pretty high in our Summer 2016 Top 25 Under 25, at number 14, however he continued to sit out of the lineup for the start of the 2016-17 season. Corrado quickly became the poster boy of a player coaches either didn’t know, understand, or want. He was always there with the team, kicking around at practice, occupying space in the press-box, travelling with them, but he would rarely crack the roster.
Mike Babcock says he considered giving Frankie Corrado his first game of the year, but "we just went 3-1 in our last four, right?"— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 10, 2016
Corrado was clearly frustrated, and, in a move likely coordinated with his agent, did some public relations and let the word out that he wanted to play or leave. It became a big deal, even cracking into Sportsnet’s intermission segment one game with Elliotte Friedman breaking the news and saying his "career was being damaged."
Mike Babcock clearly did not like that, replying "he’s missing the boat big time."
Corrado did make it into some games in the 2016-17 season, specifically when Morgan Rielly was injured. Perhaps his most memorable moment was when Steven Kampfer blasted him into the stratosphere on this insane hip-check.
Corrado also endeard himself to us all off the ice in an episode the Maple Leafs: Blueprint where we learned he’s an avid guitar player.
I would note that Joffrey Lupul is also a guitar player. Only a coincidence I’m sure!
In January 2017, Corrado was sent to the Marlies to play a conditioning stint. He earned high praise from Coach Sheldon Keefe, but it didn’t make a difference to Mike Babcock, who responded that "as much as everyone thinks the coach decides, the coach doesn’t decide, the players decide. We watch them, and whoever plays the best (plays)."
Corrado’s fate with the Maple Leafs was finally sealed on February 4th when the Leafs claimed Alexy Marchenko off waivers from the Red Wings, and put Corrado himself on waivers. There were no takers. Corrado played a total of 41 Maple Leafs games, earning 1 goal and 5 assists; and and 25 Marlies games, earning 1 goal and 14 assists.
Since being traded, he joined the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, where he has no points in 2 games played.
So long and good luck, Frankie!