Sparks beats out veteran goalie McElhinney for Maple Leafs' backup job

Garret Sparks, last year's AHL goalie of the year, has won the backup job with the Toronto Maple Leafs, while fellow netminders Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard were placed on waivers Monday. The NHL club also dealt defenceman Connor Carrick to Dallas.

Fellow netminder Calvin Pickard waived, defenceman Carrick traded to Stars

Garret Sparks, last year's AHL goalie of the year, has cracked the Maple Leafs' roster out of training camp, beating out veteran netminder Curtis McElhinney, who was placed on waivers Monday along with fellow puckstopper Calvin Pickard. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press/File)

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

Sparks was named to the club's 23-man roster on Monday, while fellow netminders Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard were 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.

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

Carrick shipped to Stars

Connor Carrick, a 24-year-old defenceman, was initially thought to have been placed on waivers Monday as Toronto made its final cuts but instead was dealt to the Dallas Stars for a seventh-round draft pick next summer.

Should Carrick appear in 50 NHL games this season, the Stars would instead transfer their sixth-round selection in 2019 to Toronto.

In 47 contests last NHL season, he scored four goals and 12 points. Carrick posted 24 points in 130 games over parts of three seasons with the Maple Leafs, who acquired him in a trade with Washington on Feb. 28, 2016.

Holl, Marincin among depth defencemen​

The Leafs will start the regular season with two goalies, eight defencemen and 13 forwards.

Carrick was beat out for a job 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.

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

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


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