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(Article)Canucks: Corrado’s strong shot levels the playing field


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PENTICTON— When Frankie Corrado wired that bullet in the Young Stars game against Calgary here Friday night, it certainly didn’t mean much in terms of any bottom line.

But it might well have been a game changer in terms of his battle with Yannick Weber to become the sixth defenceman on the roster of the Vancouver Canucks.

It has been the general consensus that, given Weber’s experience and huge shot from the right side, he would have more than the inside track on landing the spot over Corrado, who is still wet behind the ears despite the seven games he got last season, three in the regular season and four more in the lickety-split playoff exit against the San Jose Sharks.

Everyone knows that Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, Chris Tanev and Jason Garrison already have the top five jobs locked up. And everyone around Vancouver after all these years pretty much considers Andrew Alberts permanently etched into the healthy-scratch column in the Vancouver lineup — until, of course, the playoffs begin, at which point he proceeds to play every game as he did last year. You figure it out.

So that leaves Weber and Corrado battling for that sixth spot, with Alberts in the seven hole on the roster and the team likely wanting to carry an extra forward instead of an eighth defenceman, since it’s becoming increasingly clear they don’t have a third-line centre unless you’re ascribing those characteristics to Brad Richardson.

Because the Canucks most certainly won’t want Corrado in the position of not playing, they’ll likely carry eight defencemen if he wins the battle, seven if he loses. And while he’s clearly a cut above the rabble at this “Young Stars” tournament, a loss in that battle will mean Corrado will be learning the discreet charms of Utica, at least until somebody gets hurt.

But the battle isn’t over yet and that shot, which he demonstrated again on the power play here Sunday, certainly has to alter some thinking.

Jason Botchford has already documented how Corrado has pushed his weight from the high 180s into the 200-pound region with a 15-pound gain this summer, something he wanted to achieve after he felt he was outmuscled for pucks in the San Jose series, something you might well expect from a kid still just 19 years of age at the time.

And the team already knows he’s likely to be a much more reliable defender than Weber, even at his age, seeing the latter has never finished an NHL season as a plus player in parts of five campaigns with the Habs.

But Weber had the one big advantage, the crushing shot that was supposed to remind the fans — and more particularly Henrik Sedin on 5-on-3 advantages — of Sami Salo’s most perceptible asset. And having somebody who can wire the puck from the right-hand side has to be an asset for a power play that finished so far up the track in last year’s stats (22) that the Sedins clearly had to be thinking of running on their own sticks in shame.

And this, of course, with the defenceman who finished second in power-play goals the previous year (Garrison), cooling his heels as the first unit toiled in ignominy. So they have to upgrade that point spot offensively.

Enter Corrado. Who knew he could shoot the puck like that? With Alain Vigneault in his ear, all he ever did was chip the puck out of his own end or past an oncoming checker when he was at the point in the offensive zone, fearful of a turnover. But heavens above, he can shoot and pretty damn well at that.

That should put him into an even dogfight with the more experienced Weber, although the contracts may still favour the Swiss born, who is guaranteed a roster spot given he has a one-way and Corrado doesn’t have that luxury. But you’ve flat out got to keep the better guy and often the “better guy” translates into which fellow makes the fewest defensive errors in the mind of most NHL coaches.

For a team with seemingly no third-line centre or backup goalie, this is once again the one position where they have some quality. And most teams will tell you that’s a very good place to have that commodity.


Frank is looking good so far,he seems to have the drive to make it in the NHL

And for the young guys hoping to make the roster,John Tortorella should be a welcome sight.

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Gotta feeling they'll hold him back until around Christmas(when our boys usually start rolling). Early going, I see Torts pushing an overly physical approach. Send our big 3 centres back to junior, & have lots of size/jam to set out.

Better to establish our team won't be manhandled, early-on. Then from mid-season on, emphasize discipline & our skill.

Meanwhile I'll bet Torts quickly gets to work on the media-he'll aggressively try to hilite that they have it "in" for us. Cause a public stink early, perhaps a bigger spotlight will ensure more balance(officiating/media-trashing) by late season.

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I was pleased to see the way the 'Nucks' Young Stars...like Corrado...handled the game vs the Oil-kids today. When the Oil-kids got up by 2 goals & started talkin' smack...the 'Nucks pushed-back. After some feistiness..the 'Nucks Young Stars turned the tables on the Oil-kids & stormed-back with 5 unanswered goals. They played relatively disciplined and stood tall.

Corrado's attitude, communication & composure upon the ice while wearin' an "A " (no 'Nucks' Young Star has worn the "C" for this tournament so far)....had a lot to do with the end results. Corrado has very eager ambition & that steadfast perseverence to truly succeed in the NHL. That's up-side! I'd be surprised to see Weber match his intangibles. But - we'll see.

Instead of the Grouse grind ...bring-on Tortorella's meat-grind - next week. I think that Corrado will continue to surprise & eventually become one of Tortorella's faves in the future.

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I think they'll hold him back for a bit in the AHL just like they did with Tanev. Bring him up as soon as an injury occurs and then keep him up. I'm really pleased how he has developed over the summer. He's put on some muscle and looks miles ahead of the other prospects.

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So cool that this kid is from Woodbridge, ON. The same town that I grew up in. Also Mark Cundari, flames prospect is from Woodbridge. Mark also played with Kassian on the Windsor Spitfires and said that he is an awesome player and great character (good attitude) in the dressing room.

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So cool that this kid is from Woodbridge, ON. The same town that I grew up in. Also Mark Cundari, flames prospect is from Woodbridge. Mark also played with Kassian on the Windsor Spitfires and said that he is an awesome player and great character (good attitude) in the dressing room.

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I'd rather see Corrado in Utica if he won't be playing top 6 in Vancouver. Franky is still young and needs games to develop his game further and sitting in the press box won't do him any good. Like many others I think Corrado is a better hockey player than Weber already but it feels like Canucks management have decided to go that route and have Corrado begin the year in Utica.

If Corrado makes the team out of camp:

Hamhuis - Bieksa

Edler - Tanev (2a)

Garrison - Corrado (2b)


Even spread of playing time across the board for the defensive group.

PP1: Hamhuis - Edler

PP2: Corrado - Garrison

PK1: Hamhuis - Bieksa

PK2: Garrison - Tanev

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D pairings are going to be interesting this season, I love Frankie and could easily see him becoming a 2-3 D man for us in the future but I do wan't him to start in Utica unless he is getting at least 16-18 minutes in the NHL. If the above pairings happen that may be possible.

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