Canucks defeat Rangers, cut Corrado and Gaunce

Cam Charron
September 27 2013 12:03AM

After Thursday's preseason game against the New York Rangers, the Vancouver Canucks announced three cuts. Two such cuts are notable: Frankie Corrado gets sent to the Utica Comets, and Brendan Gaunce - the first of the three junior-aged first round picks to be let go by the squad, and also the oldest - will return to his junior team, the Belleville Bulls.

Zach Hamill was also sent down, but that's about as notable as Mark Hamill's cameo in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

Read on past the jump for some quick thoughts on tonight's victory, plus what this move means for both guys going forward.

I think the real surprising cut is Corrado, who scored a couple of points in Thursday's 5-0 win over the New York Rangers. Corrado, compared to Yannick Weber or Andrew Alberts, presumably the two players he was fighting for the bottom spot with, is waiver-ineligible, meaning he won't get scooped up by some team and gut the Canucks' first option in case of an injury. The nail in the coffin for Corrado was when John Tortorella announced that the team would only be carrying seven defencemen around. Alberts, Weber, and even Chris Tanev, would all have to clear waviers.

So while it's disappointing because Corrado is a likeable player who has increased his stock a tonne over the past 12 months, I think we all saw it coming. He'll get top minutes with Travis Green in Utica and likely be a primary call-up.

Gaunce was Canucks Army's controversial No. 1 prospect unveiled this past month, yet he leaves the roster while Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat remain. Coach John Tortorella said that "his pace and tempo need to improve", which makes it sound like Gaunce's main issue was his inability to tickle the ivories. He was fine tickling the net, with a couple of goals in the first two preseason games but ultimately looking like a fish out of water at the NHL-level. He had a fairly rough camp, but a year to work on his skating and dominate the junior level ought to be good for him.

Mike Gillis made it quite clear earlier in the day that Corrado and Gaunce were on the chopping block. It really is too bad that Gaunce didn't get a final look against the Rangers, but it looks like the team is trying to acquaint Brad Richardson and Mike Santorelli to whatever roles they'll have on this team.

The cuts leave the Canucks with 15 forwards (including the injured Jordan Schroeder and the suspended Zack Kassian, so 13 eligible to start the season) and seven defencemen. Well, eight. Jeremie Blain is still listed on the roster, but I can't find any recent information that confirms which city Blain is actually playing in. What the Canucks have now should be close to their opening day roster.

Kassian still counts against the cap with his suspension and Schroeder will qualify for the long-term injured reserve. Bob McKenzie in the intermission suggested the Canucks may try and do something with the cap space they have. Finding a player to take Horvat or Shinkaruk's spot on the roster wouldn't be the worst thing, to save an entry-level slide year.

As for Thursday's contest, what is there left to say? The Canucks dominated in a 5-0 victory, with Roberto Luongo making all the big stops late as the New York Rangers piled on with some shots towards the end. He stopped 41, and while I only caught the final ten minutes or so, he looked real sharp in all of them, making two big stops off of John Moore, a sneaky-good offensive defenceman, it seems.

Henrik Sedin scored twice on his birthday (are the Sedins already 33?) and led the team with four shots on goal. Not sure how much stock I put into the 41-20 shots line because the game was way out of whack fairly early in the second period, but the opponents out-shooting the home squad 17-8 is a cause for concern only because the Canucks have failed to dominate a shot clock so far this preseason. It's one thing for Brad Richards to get five shots on goal, but Taylor Pyatt got five and Darroll Powe got four? Something's up.

Pretty cool for Shinkaruk to score a lovely goal against Henrik Lundqvist, considering Lundqvist is probably the best goalie in the world. I think we're beginning to realize what Shinkaruk can do with that shot of his. He's taken a few efforts from the outside and two have found the back of the net so far in the preseason:

So, uh, that's it for the preseason. The Canucks finish 2-5, getting out-scored 16-18. First regular season isn't until a week from now. Boy am I ever excited. Aren't you?

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Hard Puck City
September 27 2013, 12:12AM
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AV's team looks like what I expected. Inept, passionless, clueless, one dimensional and boringly over rated. This isn't hard to predict once you've seen it before. History always repeats itself to people who never learn.

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#2 Nux
September 27 2013, 12:14AM
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Way to go, Torts. Good decision.

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#3 Lemming
September 27 2013, 12:44AM
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Nice to see the Canucks win, but when they win it's easier to forget that this is a meaningless game. I still put no stock in it. Bring on the regular season!

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#5 argoleas
September 27 2013, 12:51AM
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Liking the way Luongo is playing (his terrible first game long forgotten). Here's hoping no early slump. Sharks test coming up.

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#6 nas19ua
September 27 2013, 01:14AM
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Looked like Lu and King Henrik switched jerseys - Bobby didn't gave a single rebound, and pucks jumped off Lundqvist like tennis balls off the wall. KB totally destroyed Dorsett, nice tilt. And right decisions with Corrado and Gaunce. Can't wait the start of the season!

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#7 nas19ua
September 27 2013, 02:20AM
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J.T. Miller 09:48 ice time, Taylor Pyatt 18:13 ice time. AV is so... AV. Watch Rangers trade for Aaron Rome.

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#8 Hard Puck City
September 27 2013, 02:45AM
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@Cam Charron

Of course it matters. AV's team couldn't win when it mattered when it counted here...so should I be surprised his team couldn't win during pre season games? If coaching doesn't matter than why have coaches to begin with?

It mattered during the Boston series when AV was here. Did he win even one of those games? It mattered when it was the 7th game. Did hid Canucks score even ONE goal during that game? ONE goal...not even ONE GOAL. Where am I pretending? I based my opinion on something called facts. AV was here, and he was a coach he did well in the regular season when it doesn't count, choked most of the play offs he was ever in away, with one exception and he and his team were burned by Boston pretty bad. Then two more first round exits, waste time waste time. I don't get why ppl in this city love to waste so much time believing in people who have proven they can't get the job done, then trade away future talent because they have to keep an old cougar who they should have never given that big contract to begin with. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.All this talk talk talk, from both the Canucks and their fans. I'll believe it when I see the cup here. Maybe I'm wrong, based on the Canucks winning history. LMFAO. Now I'm pretending. LOL

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#9 van
September 27 2013, 06:40AM
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I like the idea of a Shinkaruk-Schroeder-Kassian third line. Without a proper 3C, they're going to be sheltered anyway, so it makes no sense to break up one of the stronger lines in the league (Sedins-Burrows). We're probably going to have at least one top 9 winger out most of the time, so Kesler can take two from the others. Also lets you ice a Richardson-Santorelli-Wiese 4th line (no Sestito).

Only way it makes sense to split the top line is to use Burrows at 3C.

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#11 RobG
September 27 2013, 08:27AM
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Another dumb GM mistake by Mike Gilles.... The Canucks burned the first year of Corrado's ELC last year for what 11 games only to send him back down to Utica this year and waste another year of his ELC. Talk about piss poor asset management.... Again.

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#12 JDM
September 27 2013, 08:44AM
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Keeping Corrado up or sending him down does not matter in terms of ELC years. Yes, it would've been ideal not to have burned that year last year. But that's not a reason to keep him up this year when Utica better suits his development. Torts is right about that.

Now, this reasoning applies equally (if not more so) to Horvat playing next to Tom *(%@% Sestito on the fourth line, so there's that. But hopefully Horvat goes back to London soon and all will be well in the world. Shinkaruk will follow once Kassian's suspension ends.

I liked Santorelli and Booth together. Booth is obviously a little off being his first pre-season game and having spent so much time on the shelf (as usual) but he won some battles on the boards and he's still got the skating. Provided Santorelli can consistently not be a liability that could be a very useful third line with Hansen on it.

HamJuice looked pretty okay tonight. Not that it was a particularly great game by them (Hamhuis was his usual excellent self, Bieksa was his usual gambling man self) but it was sort of nostalgic because it looked like the way they'd play an average game in 2011. Not sure where this leaves Garrison but I'd be pumped to see that pairing stick together again. Edler and Tanev looked great.

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#13 Curtis
September 27 2013, 10:12AM
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Burning that year of Corrado's ELC may very well keep the value of his next contract down. If years 1 and 2 of ELC only have about ~20 NHL games, the likelihood that he can be retained for near the value of an ELC for the following year is high.

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#14 That's Offside!
September 27 2013, 10:53AM
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Hard Puck City wrote:

AV's team looks like what I expected. Inept, passionless, clueless, one dimensional and boringly over rated. This isn't hard to predict once you've seen it before. History always repeats itself to people who never learn.

So we're basing our judgement on a one game sample from a team playing the second half of a back-to-back at the tail end of a cross-country road trip just before they go to Vegas? Ok, good to know we're making sound, rational observations.

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#15 Unknown Comic
September 27 2013, 11:03AM
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That's Offside! wrote:

So we're basing our judgement on a one game sample from a team playing the second half of a back-to-back at the tail end of a cross-country road trip just before they go to Vegas? Ok, good to know we're making sound, rational observations.

She has a point though, why was Vigneault not scoring goals in game 7? Was it because he was 50 years old or because he wasn't even dressed? Whatever it was, they're all excuses. As a clutch goal scorer Vigneault sux.

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#16 Bob Bob Shewap
September 27 2013, 11:39AM
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According to the Utica Comets website, Jeremie Blain is in camp with them.

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#17 JCDavies
September 27 2013, 11:52AM
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@Curtis

But then he becomes a UFA a year earlier, so ...

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#18 NM00
September 27 2013, 12:05PM
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RobG wrote:

Another dumb GM mistake by Mike Gilles.... The Canucks burned the first year of Corrado's ELC last year for what 11 games only to send him back down to Utica this year and waste another year of his ELC. Talk about piss poor asset management.... Again.

I thought Gillis made the right call using Corrado last year. Or, at the least, it was a justifiable decision.

The goal is to win in the playoffs.

If Corrado was one of the 6 best defenseman in the organization, it made sense to use him.

Mind you, I think it's a legit criticism that the Canucks didn't have anyone else with whom they felt comfortable including Ballard...

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#19 NM00
September 27 2013, 12:53PM
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@Hard Puck City

A bad coach is perfectly capable of winning a Stanley Cup.

Replace the 30 NHL coaches with 30 chimps and at the end of the year a chimp will have a Stanley Cup ring.

The game is about the players not middle management wizardry.

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#20 PB
September 27 2013, 12:56PM
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@NM00

Poorer personnel use than asset management. Not sure why AV just couldn't stand using Ballard but harder to fault MG on that front.

Back to this game, not bad but as others have pointed out, last game of the preseason isn't worth much other than a tuneup (and the people going off on AV for...game 7? not winning last night? give me a break). Better to come out of it without broken jaws, ten game suspensions, and all manner of controversies. Seriously, when was the last time there was a preseason as insane as this one?

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#21 NM00
September 27 2013, 01:08PM
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@PB

"Poorer personnel use than asset management. Not sure why AV just couldn't stand using Ballard but harder to fault MG on that front."

The coach works for the general manager.

If Gillis didn't like how AV handled Ballard, he should have set him straight or fired him earlier.

And if Gillis doesn't understand how an organizational chart works, he should find another line of work.

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#22 PB
September 27 2013, 07:19PM
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@NM00

Come on, you know it's not that simple. Yes, the coach is employed by the GM but at least in an ideal organization is responsible for utilizing the tools they are provided with. That shouldn't -- I hope -- result in being told how to coach. AV clearly had his own way of doing things which has been commented on ad nauseum. That goes from under-utilizing/mis-usuing some players, playing favorites, and -- according to some -- giving too much leeway to certain players.

Gillis has his own flaws but I still think that neither the Ballard nor the Booth deals were that bad. Expiring contracts for the latter and basically a very low first rounder (who'll be probably a 3rd liner) for the former -- Grabner and Bernier were both also undervalued by at least one other organization and frankly despite Grabner's outlier season they're both exactly the kind of flawed players we knew we were giving up. Booth has had an injury bug and Ballard, well, I never really understood what AV was thinking. I don't think he's as good as he looked on a bad Florida team or a mediocre Phoenix team, but he's not as bad as he looked here. Perhaps the problem was that Gillis took the separation between GM and coach too much to heart, enough that he was willing to let AV burn an ELC from Corrado's contract or sit Ballard in favor of Rome, or whatever else. I don't think that's a matter of not understanding how an organizational chart works, it's having a particular kind of faith in the structure of your organization -- the GM manages personnel and the coach coaches them. You can blame him for sticking to that too tightly -- I kind of wish he would have interfered with AV enough on some of his decisions -- but not for the ignorance you seem to be ascribing to him.

To be clear there are lots of things that Gillis does that I'm not necessarily a fan of (it's going to take a lot for me to forgive resigning Sestito) but I just don't get the kind of blind hate you have on for him which is an all or nothing all-encompassing thing.

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#23 NM00
September 27 2013, 08:01PM
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@PB

"Yes, the coach is employed by the GM but at least in an ideal organization is responsible for utilizing the tools they are provided with. That shouldn't -- I hope -- result in being told how to coach."

As you say, "AV clearly had his own way of doing things."

Why, then, did Gillis keep on a coach with whom he was seemingly rarely-if-ever on the same page?

As AV's superior, Gillis was certainly culpable in the organization's decision to turn Ballard into a utility defenseman.

And if AV was the sole problem, why was Ballard bought out in the summer? Why didn't Gillis give Ballard a shot with another coach if that was the only issue?

Though I have no evidence, I'd argue Gillis may very well have called plays from the front office in the past.

One example could be Schneider getting game 6 in Chicago in 2011.

If you recall, in the presser after game 5, AV defiantly suggested Lou would get game 6 despite back to back meltdowns...

"basically a very low first rounder (who'll be probably a 3rd liner)"

To be clear, Gillis didn't trade Quinton Howden. He traded the 25th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Whether or not Florida used it on Howden, Charlie Coyle, Brendan Gallagher or an outright bust is another matter.

"despite Grabner's outlier season they're both exactly the kind of flawed players we knew we were giving up"

Grabner is one of the top even strength goal scorers in the last 3 years.

Kinda sound like something the Canucks could use right about now...

"but I just don't get the kind of blind hate you have on for him which is an all or nothing all-encompassing thing"

You do realize my original comment in this thread defended Gillis' decision to burn a year of Corrado's ELC...

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#24 PB
September 27 2013, 09:34PM
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@NM00

Yes, I know you did say that and I think you make several good points. I just think that some of your comments -- even here -- are cherrypicking at best. I'm not going to entertain speculation that you admit has no actual evidence. I will say that AV -- whatever his methods -- still had good results, enough that it would be difficult to axe him just on the basis of what on a winning team might appear to be allowable idiosyncrasies. Two straight quick exits in the playoffs and a seemingly predictable style makes for more grounds for dismissal, as happened.

You've stated your conviction that the Canucks will miss the playoffs or be an early round knockout. I think there's no evidence yet that this will be the case. Only after the season actually gets under way and we can see for ourselves whether the Sedins have begun to deteriorate, whether Kesler can regain his former impact, whether Kassian can actually show some consistency, Booth can put the puck into the net and on and on that we'll have any sense. Way too early to be making such definitive predictions.

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#25 Hard Puck City
September 27 2013, 10:22PM
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@That's Offside!

No, we're making judgments on the team based on the last 10 miserable over rated choking years. Would like me to go further into their history or does that not count? It's not rational if I have an opinion based on one game but it's rational for the lot of you guys to have hope after 45 years of the team's failures, right? LOL

I love it when the kettle calls the pot black. I have heard all the excuses. We need a center-man, we need a goalie, we need support for the "star players", we need a GM, it's never the Goalies fault, it's never the twins fault, the coach isn't good enough for this team, we should do this, we should do that? Man, if there is one team that has no room for excuses and false hopes , it's the Canucks.

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#26 Hard Puck City
September 27 2013, 10:35PM
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@NM00

you can put 30 chimps to be coaches and yes, one team will win the cup every year but hey , guess what, I'm willing to bet it AINT gonna be the Canucks.

Also, if all the coaches were chimps and there would still be a cup won. Why don't you then replace all the players with chimps too? I'm sure chimps can also be trained to push a puck into the net, and you know what that means right? It means that even with the league of chimps you'd still have a cup winner every year? So what's your point again?

Why is it always the chimps on THIS team that happens to choke and suck year after year? Every thought about that? But of course you think it's easy to win the cup, even with chimps for coaches. Where's the Canucks cup then? If you took turns winning the cup since the league started, the Canucks would have one now. Where is it? Have the won one yet? It's easy to win , isn't it? Even chimp coaches can win a cup? Well, where's the cup then? Do you know how many days are in 45 years? You plan on waiting for the Canucks to win in your after life? LOL

The game is about the players, but why is it that it so happens that the players who have been here on this team for 45 years suck and choke? Why? I don't think it's coincidence or luck.Cause from where I'm looking at, this team has had a lot of chimps in its line up for a long long long time.

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#27 Hard Puck City
September 27 2013, 10:44PM
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@Unknown Comic

You're pretty smart for a girl too...but you know what, Never mind AV, HIS team couldn't score goals. HIS team sucked. HIS goalie had a meltdown. HIS star twins were busing punching Marchand's glove in, while the rest of HIS team watched on. HIS goalie wanted his tires pumped, but got schooled by Thomas. HIS team played every Boston home game like a bunch mice. HIS team choked. And HIS team sat their and cried like babies when Boston raised the cup and showed HIM how to win it. So yeah, maybe AV should have been on the ice in the 7th game, cause HIS team sure as shat wasn't there.

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#28 JCDavies
September 28 2013, 03:40PM
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@Hard Puck City

"you can put 30 chimps to be coaches and yes, one team will win the cup every year but hey , guess what, I'm willing to bet it AINT gonna be the Canucks."

That's a pretty safe bet there. No team is a favorite against the field.

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#29 Hard Puck City
September 28 2013, 11:09PM
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@JCDavies

Yeah but take my advice, DON'T bet on the Canucks winning. LOL

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