April 15 2013 12:23PM
Photo Uncredited via Frankcorrado.blogspot.com
The Canucks don't have a particularly deep pool of prospects, but two-way defenseman Frank Corrado - drafted in the fifth round in the 2011 NHL draft - is a talented young player. His Kitchener Rangers were eliminated from the Ontario Hockey League postseason on Friday night by Dale Hunter's London Knights, and according to the team Frank has been assigned to join the Chicago Wolves:
Media Release: #Canucks assign Frank Corrado to the AHL Chicago Wolves.— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) April 15, 2013
Read past the jump.
Frank Corrado's stock has soared over the past couple of seasons. Corrado was the only major junior player in the Canucks system who was invited to attend training camp this past January, and he only narrowly missed out on representing team Canada and the U20 World Junior Championships this past December. Many observers, including Bob McKenzie, thought he probably should've been on the team.
Frank Corrado's calling card is his two-way play. He's a hybrid defensive defenseman with good speed and professional quality defensive awareness - something you'll rarely find in a twenty-year old hockey player. Corrado's offensive production spiked in a big way this season, but that's to be expected of a guy with NHL potential at the Major Junior level in his draft +2 year. Still you'll probably read a whole lot about Corrado's offensive development over the next week, but make no mistake, it's Corrado's two-way chops that he'll rely on if he hopes to become a mainstay on Vancouver's blue-line in the not-to-distant future.
The Chicago Wolves have four games remaining this season, and appear to be modest long-shot to make the playoffs (they're currently two points out of eighth place, with two games in hand over Rockford). Corrado played regularly in his cup of coffee with the Wolves a year ago, and I'd expect him to play a top-four role over the coming week in Chicago.
As for whether or not Corrado could see action with the Canucks over the balance of the regular season or into the playoffs, well, he is a right-handed shot so it's possible. Vancouver's right-side depth is weak enough, especially with Chris Tanev injured and out of the lineup indefinitely, that an additional injury or two could see Corrado make his NHL debut sooner than might otherwise be optimal. Gillis brought up Corrado specifically as a reason he wasn't concerned about his club's right-side depth this past summer, though for what it's worth he also mentioned since traded Kevin Connauton in the same sentence...
Corrado signed his entry-level deal as an 18 year old, and only turned 20 in March, so his entry-level contract should slide again this season so long as he doesn't appear in more than five games (postseason included). I wouldn't expect the Canucks to burn a year of Corrado's deal, but I'd say there's a slim chance we could see Corrado in the Canucks lineup this Spring as emergency relief. Hopefully not though.