The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed pending restricted free agent Sam Carrick to a one-year deal.

From the Toronto Marlies:
[quote_box_center]Carrick, 23, collected two points (one goal, one assist) and nine penalty minutes in 16 regular season games with the Maple Leafs this season. Carrick made his NHL debut on November 1, 2014 against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stouffville, Ontario native also skated in 59 regular season games with the Toronto Marlies, registering 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) and 112 penalty minutes. Carrick has collected 66 points (25 goals, 41 assists) in 140 career American Hockey League games. Carrick was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 5th round (144th overall) during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Sam Carrick was a valuable player for the Marlies. He played well at center, was able to slide over to wing, and he was valuable as a right handed player in either position. In 2013-14, he carried the team on his back in the first round of the playoffs while injured players Peter Holland and Carter Ashton recovered.

Carrick had a very good training camp with the Maple Leafs in September 2014, but was a victim of contract status and the numbers game with players that were no longer waiver exempt; Peter Holland was on a one-way contract and they would not have been able to keep him on the roster if they tried to send him down to the Marlies after camp, as he surely would have been claimed off waivers. On merit, Carrick should have started the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs fourth line center.

As Carrick was in need of a new deal, the Leafs brought him up for spot duty evaluation throughout the season, appearing in 16 games (1g, 1a, 2pts). Said  Kyle Dubas on the callup situation last year:

[quote_box_center]“We don’t want to shuttle them up and down all the time, worry about their confidence being shaken, playing minimal minutes on the fourth line and coming back down and wondering where they fit in,” said Dubas.

“Third-year, entry-level (contracts), you bring them up because it’s valuable,” said Dubas.[/quote_box_center]

Carrick, of course, was in the final year of his ELC. He could also slide more seamlessly into an energy role than a higher-skill young player playing low in the lineup.

Carrick is a hard worker; he’s a handful on the forecheck, is strong on the walls (where the team is collectively quite poor), and has some ability to finish. He will be again be a factor to make the team in the fall as the line-4 center, or perhaps on the wing.

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