While hearts started pounding over the news tucked away on the AHL transactions page that Antoine Bibeau had been called up to the Leafs, another thing went unnoticed.
Willie Corrin had been loaned to Brampton of the ECHL. That’s the Brampton Beast, as in the affiliate of the St. John’s IceCaps and the Montréal Canadiens.
Corrin is a left-shooting defender, a graduate of the NCAA who is from Minnesota, and he was signed to an AHL contract last spring after playing with a clutch of other Leafs associated players for Minnesota-Duluth: Tony Cameranesi, Dominic Toninato and Kasimir Kaskisuo. Toninato is still in school, but the other two are playing for the Orlando Solar Bears.
Corrin was loaned to the Solar Bears too, but he’s one of several players the Marlies sent south who aren’t going over very well on that team.
On Friday, T.J. Foster, who scored 54 points for the Solar Bears last year, was also loaned out. In his case he’s now with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, part of the Oilers organization.
In the ECHL, and to some extent, the AHL, these loans are common to fill a need on a team that is short-handed or to give ice time to a player who can’t get it on his home club.
Corrin, who has only played three games all season, can greatly benefit from some ice time. Foster, who is only 24, has proven his value at the ECHL level, and yet he doesn’t seem to be working out in Orlando right now.
If nothing else, this is two less players in the Leafs system sitting around not playing. There are a lot more of those, some of them earning six or seven figure salaries, who would benefit from a team that needs them now. But I’m not sure how many of those guys I’d want to just give to the Habs.
Life is sometimes simpler in the minors where opportunities aren’t constrained by contract limits and cap space.