According to a report from TSN’s Kristen Shilton, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will dress defenceman Connor Carrick over veteran defenceman Roman Polak for tonight’s contest against the Detroit Red Wings.
Babcock also confirmed that backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney will get the start in goal, taking over for starter Frederik Andersen who played last night in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Leafs fans online couldn’t he happier with the decision, as they’ve been calling for Babcock to play Polak less and less as the Leafs gear up for the stretch drive and the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Check out the Twitter reaction:
Rookie Travis Dermott has been a revelation for the Leafs since being called up last month and has seemingly pushed Polak down the depth chart. Still, injuries to Nikita Zaitsev and Morgan Rielly threw a wrench into things for awhile. With Rielly and Zaitsev now back to full health, Dermott remains in the lineup and it looks like Babcock will employ a three main rotation between Polak, Carrick and rookie Andreas Borgman. Tonight… Carrick gets the call, while Polak and Borgman watch from the press box.
As for the Red Wings, it looks as though they'll go without veteran defenceman Mike Green for tonight's contest.
The veteran blue liner has been the source of numerous trade rumours over the past few weeks and it's a near certainty that he'll be moved before the NHL's February 26th trade deadline. There was a time that Green was linked to the Leafs, but with Dermott's emergence and the log jam of talent on the Leafs' blue line, that rumour seems to be dead now.
Regardless, the 32-year-old Calgary, Alberta native should provide his new team with an offensive spark once he's finally traded. In 56 games for a weak Red Wing squad, Green has six goals and 29 points. He's a pending UFA and is expected to be one of the hottest trade commodities on the market in the next week and half.