Seventeen shifts.

And 12:51 in ice time.

For most of the 700-plus membership of the NHL, those numbers in an early season game wouldn’t be all that impressive.

For Colton Orr, the enforcer who played just five games in the league a year ago as he battled concussion problems and looked all but written off for the final year of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, those nearly 13 minutes were immeasurably big in Saturday night’s 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators.

This was Orr’s 394th career game and in it he received from coach Randy Carlyle the second most ice time of his career, playing on an odd-looking line with two small, skilled players in Nazem Kadri and Clarke MacArthur.

For most of that career, Orr has been expected to only sit and wait and fight, performing the dancing bear routine that appears to be dying out one NHL season only to come roaring back the next.

But Carlyle, who won a Stanley Cup on a fighter-loaded roster in Anaheim in 2007, has never wavered in loving his goons.

He believes, more than most, that their role matters, that their existence protects teammates and that, despite their obvious on-ice limitations when it comes to scoring, skating and the like, they belong in the lineup and on the ice.