When will we see Frank Corrado this season?

Up until December, the Canucks were extremely fortunate with their injury situation on defence — they didn’t have one. The Canucks had been able to keep a stable 6-man defence corps consisting of Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Dan Hamhuis, Chris Tanev, and Ryan Stanton. The only game action Yannick Weber and Andrew Alberts received was as forwards on the fourth line.

In the last two weeks, that has all changed, leaving the Canucks with a somewhat unstable defence. Meanwhile, Frank Corrado, who many expected to make the Canucks roster out of training camp, has yet to receive a call-up from the AHL.

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Shift-by-shift: Frank Corrado’s first NHL game

It’s not enough to say that Frank Corrado didn’t look out of place in his NHL debut: he looked perfectly in place, skating on Alex Edler’s right side like he’d been there all season. Most rookie defencemen will just try to play a simple game and hope to not get noticed for the wrong reason. Corrado, on the other hand, made his presence felt immediately, stapling Marcus Kruger to the boards with a solid check on just his second shift of the game.

Corrado was credited with 24 total shifts and 17:20 in ice time (though this number turned out to be slightly inaccurate upon closer inspection). Still, he was fourth among Canucks’ defencemen in ice time and matched up against Patrick Kane more than any other Blackhawks forward. In fact, Kane was fed a steady diet of the Edler and Corrado pairing for most of the game, demonstrating how quickly Corrado won Alain Vigneault’s trust.

I wanted to find out exactly how Corrado’s debut went, shift by shift, to see exactly how he earned his ice time, so I went back and watched his entire game. The verb that kept coming up in my notes was quick: quick skating, quick passes, and quick decisions.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks, April 22, 2013

There’s a lot to take away from this game, but let’s begin this recap with something no one can EVER take away: with the win versus the Chicago Blackhwks, the Canucks clinched their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title! Five in a row, baby!

Say what you will about the division title. Sure, it’s as easy to get as your first Pokemon. But the Canucks were the 1956-1960 Montreal Canadiens of the Northwest Division: that’s a half-decade of pure, uncut domination. I watched the Canucks cement a mother-flipping dynasty when I watched this game.

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Frank Corrado gets called up from the Wolves, gets thrown to the wolves

The Vancouver Canucks defence are like Dr. Curt Connors at the moment: all left. With both Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa out of the lineup with injuries, the Canucks have dressed six left-handed defencemen over the past three games, forcing three of them to play on their off-side. While Jason Garrison appears to have made a fairly smooth transition to playing on the right, it hasn’t gone quite as well for the rest of the defence corps.

The Canucks’ defensive efforts have been marred by turnovers and an inability to break out of the defensive zone and it seems likely that the lack of right-handed defencemen is partially to blame. It comes as no surprise, then, that they would try to remedy the situation with an injection of right-handedness into the lineup.

Frank Corrado, who is coming off a superb final season in Junior, got called up to the Canucks today and, judging from the Canucks’ morning skate, he’ll be inserted directly into the top-four. In essence, Corrado is Curt Connors’ experimental reptilian limb regeneration serum: will he fix what ails the defence or will he turn them into a grotesque monster?

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Spitballin’ on Keith Ballard’s acting ability, infinite Sedins, and Frankie goes to camp

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.

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Cut by Steve Spott at World Junior camp, Frank Corrado acquired by Spott’s Rangers

Back in December, Sudbury Wolf defender and Canucks’ 5th round draft pick Frank Corrado very nearly made Team Canada. Or, at least, that’s what it looked like. Corrado, something of a surprise invite, was also a surprise standout at the World Junior camp, scoring twice in exhibition while showing his strong defensive play and physicality. People tracking the camp liked what they saw. Corrado looked poised to steal one of the few spots up for grabs on Team Canada’s blueline.

But it seemed that Steve Spott, head coach of Canada’s World Junior squad as well as the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, saw things differently. Corrado was the first cut of camp — one final surprise for the Canuck prospect. I guess Spott didn’t like Corrado’s game quite as much as the rest of us.

Or maybe Spott just didn’t want to risk Corrado getting hurt before he could help the Kitchener Rangers down the OHL’s playoff stretch. On Tuesday, Corrado was part of a six-player trade that sees him go from Sudbury to Kitchener, where he’ll be playing for Steve Spott after all.

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Frank Corrado, despite not being terrible, gets cut from Team Canada

Not long ago, Frank Corrado would have been a long shot to even get invited to Team Canada’s World Junior selection camp, let alone be in the running for a spot on the squad. A stellar season, as well as a fine showing for Team OHL versus Russia in the Subway Super Series, earned him the invite. After that, he let his play do the talking, scoring twice in exhibition while exhibiting his usual strong defence and physicality.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to earn a spot on a very deep blueline for Canada, as he was the first player cut on Thursday.

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Frank Corrado still isn’t terrible, gets invited to Team Canada’s World Junior camp

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.

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Canucks’ 2011 draft pick Frank Corrado, OHL superstar, is not terrible

Coming out of the 2011 NHL entry draft, much of the attention of Canucks fans was directed at the team’s first round pick, Danish winger Nicklas Jensen, and for good reason. Jensen has given every indication that he has all the tools necessary to play in the NHL.

Other picks from that draft caught people’s attention for one reason or another: Alexandre Grenier was a surprise pick in the third round, who didn’t break out until his overage season in Junior. David Honzik was the only goalie drafted by the Canucks in 2011 and seemed to only have one great playoff run to his credit. Joseph Labate was a finalist for the Mr. Hockey Award in Minnesota and his size at 6’4″ certainly caught people’s attention. Even the Canucks’ sixth round selection, Pathrik Westerholm, drew fan’s focus, as one of a pair of Swedish twins.

Flying under the radar a bit, then, was Frank “Frankie” Corrado, a 5’11″ defenceman with a modicum of offensive upside who the Canucks picked in the fifth round. Since the draft, however, Corrado has gone from a late-round project to one of the best defenceman in the OHL, starring for the league in the Subway Super Series against Russia.

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Throughout the Young Stars Tournament, we will have in-person coverage from Harrison, while I will be “in studio” back here in the Valley. We won’t be writing our usual I Watched This Game feature, as the games themselves are not what matters. Instead, we’ll be looking at the individual performances. I will be choosing the 3 stars from amongst the Canucks prospects as well as making a few other observations. Why just the Canucks prospects? Because we don’t care about the other teams. Screw ‘em.

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