Maple Leafs place McElhinney, Pickard on waivers

HC at Noon discussion on the news that Garret Sparks has won the Maple Leafs back-up goalie job, and have placed Curtis McElhinney, Calvin Pickard on waivers.

TORONTO — Garret Sparks has won the backup goalie job with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Connor Carrick, meanwhile, is on the move.

Sparks was named to the club’s 23-man roster on Monday, with fellow netminders Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard getting placed on waivers.

The decision to keep last season’s American Hockey League goalie of the year as the No. 2 behind Frederik Andersen doesn’t come as a surprise.

At 25, Sparks appeared to be a much more likely candidate to be plucked from the waiver wire than the 35-year-old McElhinney or the 26-year-old Pickard.

Toronto also initially announced that Carrick had been put on waivers as the team made its final cuts. But in a confusing twist, the 24-year-old defenceman was not waived and instead traded to the Dallas Stars for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft.

Sparks played 17 games for the Leafs in 2015-16, going 6-9-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage.

If McElhinney and Pickard aren’t claimed on waivers they will be assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

Carrick was beat out for a job with the Leafs by Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Martin Marincin and former KHLer Igor Ozhiganov at the bottom end of a blue line group led by Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev.

In 167 career games with the Leafs and Washington Capitals, Carrick has nine goals and 21 assists. He suited up 47 times last season for Toronto.

If Carrick plays in 50 NHL games in 2018-19, the seventh-round pick involved in the deal will be upgraded to a sixth-round selection.

The Leafs open their schedule Wednesday night at home against the Montreal Canadiens.


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