A few weeks ago, I suggested that Canucks prospect Frank Corrado’s strong performance for the OHL in the Subway Super Series would likely earn him an invitation to Team Canada’s selection camp for the World Junior Championship. A little while after I made that suggestion, I reconsidered: Canada has a particularly strong group of defencemen available for the under-20 tournament, particularly with the ongoing NHL lockout.
Several defencemen had the potential to crack an NHL roster, with Ryan Murray and Dougie Hamilton the two most likely. Morgan Rielly, Ryan Murphy, Scott Harrington, and Xavier Ouellet also had an outside shot of sticking with their NHL teams out of training camp, making them unavailable for the World Junior Championship. With the lockout looking ever more likely to continue through December and into January, all of those players are now available to Team Canada.
That means that Frank Corrado, the Canucks only prospect even being considered for a World Junior team, was and is a long shot to make Team Canada. Heck, he was a long shot to even get invited to camp, despite my overconfident declaration in Mid-November.
But apparently my powers of prognostication are in peak form, as Corrado was one of twelve defencemen named to Team Canada’s selection camp Monday morning.
Ryan Murray’s season-ending shoulder injury means that only four or five of the seven available spots on Canada’s blue line are likely locks, leaving two or three spots available. Bob McKenzie had mentioned Corrado as a possible invite to camp last week, along with 14 others, suggesting that Corrado would be battling for one of those remaining spots with as many as 10 other defencemen.
That list of competitors has been shortened, but Corrado is still in tough to make one of those final spots.
According to McKenzie, Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton, who Corrado played alongside during the Subway Super Series, is likely to pair up with Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly with Murray out of the lineup. The second pairing is expected to be the shutdown duo of Penguins prospect Scott Harrington and Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet.
Ryan Murphy, after missing the cut for both of Team Canada’s last two World Junior teams, will likely finally break through and make the team in his final year of eligibility. That leaves just two spots for seven players, including Corrado.
It’s interesting to take a look at the defencemen who didn’t make the cut in comparison to Corrado. They include Cody Ceci, Slater Koekkoek, Stuart Percy, and Duncan Siemens, all of whom are first round draft picks from the last two years. Corrado, on the other hand, is a fifth round draft pick.
Five other defencemen at the camp were selected outside the first round of their respective drafts, with the lowest being third rounder Adam Pelech.
One of the reasons that Corrado was invited to camp might be because he is a right-handed shot. Of the five defencemen I mentioned who didn’t make the cut, only Cody Ceci shoots this way, and he lacks the physical side that Corrado can contribute. Ceci is, however, second in scoring by OHL defencemen. Corrado is ninth.
But while Corrado’s right-handedness might have given him an advantage in being invited to camp, it could hamper his chances of actually making the team. Both Hamilton and Murphy are right-handed shots, and one of Ouellet or Harrington is likely to play the right side on the second pairing. That’s all three right-side spots spoken for, meaning that Corrado would probably need to be the seventh defenceman to make the team.
Corrado’s versatility may cause Team Canada to take a long look at him, however. As a physical and defensively responsible defenceman, Corrado can fill a supplementary shutdown role, while his offensive instincts, great skating, and solid passing ability allows him to play on the powerplay and in a more offensive role as well.
For Corrado, even getting invited to camp is a major step. Actually making the team would be incredible.Tags: Frankie Corrado, Prospects, World Junior Championship