This article is part of our Blue Line Buzz series.
So, let me get this straight…
The Red Wings — a team that should be looking to jettison its veterans and hand over the reins to its young players, has just one right-handed defenseman on their roster and continues to employ Jonathan Ericsson — decided to let Alexey Marchenko go for nothing?
Though Marchenko hasn't shown any signs that he can be anything more than a second-pairing defenseman, he's a 6-foot-3, right-handed shot who is just 25 years old. He was second on the Wings in plus-minus and blocked shots per game. So much about running an NHL team is about asset management, yet the Wings allowed 29 other teams to get him for free. I get the Wings needed to make room for Brendan Smith, who is returning from a knee injury, but Marchenko doesn't seem like a logical victim of their roster squeeze.
Worse, it was the Leafs that claimed him, a historical and divisional rival that has a coach that knows him well. Even if Marchenko doesn't move the needle very much, at least he gives the Leafs another option on the right side, and, perhaps more importantly, gives Mike Babcock the option of sitting Roman Polak. To make room for Marchenko, the Leafs waived poor Frank Corrado, who stewed in the press box the entire season save for two games and the occasional conditioning stint in the AHL, and in retrospect was probably just keeping a spot warm until the Leafs found a