At the trade deadline, the Capitals flipped Brooks Laich and Connor Carrick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Daniel Winnik. Despite all of the difficult emotions that come with being traded by your first-place, long-time team, Brooks Laich has received a more prominent role on the rebuilding club. It has also given borderline prospect Connor Carrick the opportunity of a lifetime: to be a full-time NHL player. It appears he’s seizing it.
Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carrick scored his first NHL goal in two-and-a-half years, and second in his career, slamming a one-timer past goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The 21-year-old defenseman’s reaction was priceless. Carrick gave Laich a huge hug (of course) before clutching Laich’s arms, closing his eyes, and letting out a big scream. Carrick later told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston that the emotion came deep from within.
“It was full blackout at that point,” Carrick said. “I was really grateful for the guys in front that made that happen; a couple big bodies, you owe it all to them.
“Those are the moments why you play hockey,” he continued. “That’s why you work as hard as you do trying to just earn another one of those.”
Since joining the Leafs, Carrick has averaged 15 minutes of ice time a night. He had a season high TOI on March 9, logging 21:31 against the Islanders. Tuesday, Carrick skated on the second pairing with Jake Gardiner. Carrick’s goal was his third point in nine games.
Carrick on his goal: "Those are the moments why you play hockey. That's why you work as hard as you do, trying to earn another 1 of those."
— Tony Ambrogio (@Tony_Ambrogio) March 16, 2016
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