While the NHL and NHLPA fumble and bumble away the 2012-13 season, I have decided to look to the future. More specifically, the future of the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are an aging team and they will need young players to step in and make a difference soon. One player that might find himself in Canucks blue and green in the not so distant future is Frank Corrado.
So who is Frank Corrado? Well, he’s a guy that not a lot of people had heard of before this week’s World Junior selection camp, but his stock has skyrocketed.
Corrado, a 19 year old defenceman with the Sudbury Wolves was a 5th round draft pick by the Canucks in 2011. He is a 6’2″, 191 lbs good all-around defenceman. Last season as an 18 year old in the OHL, he had 26 points in 60 games, and had a +26 plus-minus rating. After his junior team was eliminated from the playoffs, he joined the Canucks farm team in Chicago for six games.
This year, Corrado continues to impress. He was named the captain of Sudbury before the season and already has 24 points in 33 games. His plus-minus is a team worst -11, which can probably be explained by the fact that he is the top defenceman on a bad team. He scored the winning goal for Team OHL against Russia in the Subway Super Series last month.
Corrado’s resume earned him an invitation to Team Canada’s selection camp, where he impressed everyone. Corrado wasn’t on the ice for a goal against and even scored the winning goal in the intrasquad game. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had Corrado on Team Canada based on his play and was surprised when he wasn’t selected. Usually when Bob McKenzie makes a prediction, you can take it to the bank. Unfortunately, McKenzie isn’t the coach, and Corrado was cut.
Corrado’s future looks bright, which is an absolute bonus for the Canucks. There aren’t a lot of top prospects on the horizon for the Canucks and Corrado kind of came out of nowhere. The last bunch of defencemen the Canucks have taken in the early rounds have disappointed (see Yann Sauve, Taylor Ellington or Daniel Rahimi). The Canucks are hoping that Corrado ends up more like Alex Edler (3rd round pick in 2004) or Kevin Bieksa (5th round pick in 2001).
The next question is, how soon can Corrado make an impact in the NHL? Well, if Edler and Bieksa are indicators, it could be a while yet. Corrado is still only 19, while Edler and Bieksa didn’t become full-time NHL regulars until they were 21 and 25 respectively. Chris Tanev, by comparison, is 23 years old. The best season by a young Canucks defenceman in his first year was probably Mattias Ohlund, who debuted when he was 21.
So don’t go buying your Canucks #22 Corrado jersey just yet, but you might be able to expect him with the big club in a couple of years.