Back in June, I was fortunate enough to chat with Vancouver Canucks prospect Frank Corrado. He had just come off a strong season for the Sudbury Wolves (being nominated for best OHL defenseman along the way).
Things couldn’t get better for the young blueliner, right? Wrong. After our chat, he was named the 7th best prospect by Canucks Army this summer. And he was then named the Captain of the Wolves. I can’t decide which one holds more clout and I’m sure he feels the same way. He has rewarded the Wolves by posting prolific numbers while shouldering most of the "heavy lifting." In fact, he recently decided that shutting down Niagara’s best players wasn’t enough, so he tacked on 5 assists of his own.
I figured now was as good a time as any to catch up with Corrado, and see what he’s up to. Other than crushing the souls of his opponents in the Ontario Hockey League, of course.
Read Past the Jump for the Chat with Corrado.
Dimitri Filipovic: Which do you prefer – Frank or Frankie? I’m a fan of Frankie, but your demeanor screams Frank.
Frankie Corrado: It really doens’t matter to me. They’re both short forms of my real name, which is Francesco. That’s what you’d see if you looked at my passport.
DF: You were named captain of the Sudbury Wolves in September, which is obviously a big honour. Has having the big ‘C’ on your chest changed the way you go about your business on and off the ice? I’m sure there’s a ton of added responsibility that comes with the gig.
FC: Being named captain was such a tremendous honour and privilege. I can’t describe the feeling that comes with knowing that your peers look at you as a leader. Sure, there’s some added responsibility, but it’s my job, and I welcome it. It’s not like I’m doing it alone, either. I have some great assistant captains who are just as qualified to be captains themselves.
DF: Thanks to a spectacular five assist effort, you were named OHL player of the week. You now have 16 points in 16 games, and are well on your way towards a career season. Do you keep an eye on your stats? Do you look around the league, to see how others are doing?
FC: I generally know how I’m doing, so I don’t need to keep an eye on the stats page. And to be honest, I don’t really track how other guys are doing either. It doesn’t make a difference to me. I’d rather let it be, go out there, and try to play my game. If I get points that’s great, but my main job is to play solid defense, and give my team a chance to win.
DF: Since we’re on the topic of stats, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up some advanced stats. Are you familiar with what a Corsi number is? It’s not recorded in junior hockey, but I’ll tell you right now, your game lends very favourably towards having a stellar one.
FC: Unfortunately I don’t know what a Corsi number is, but I’m happy to hear that I would score well in it. I’m assuming that it’s a good thing..
DF: I’m sure you’re familiar with Quality of Competition (QoC), since the name is rather self-explanatory. From what I’ve seen, you are usually given the task of going up against the opposing team’s very best players. Is taking on that kind of task something that you pride yourself on as a defenseman? Do you think that playing against tougher players makes you have to simplify, and tone down your game (at least from an offensive perspective)?
FC: I love playing against the top line of the other team. There’s no other way that I’d have it. I take great pride in my hitting, and shutting down skill players. It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting playing against lesser competition. This way, you’re engaged in the game and forced to assert yourself. As for my offense, if you see me play, you’ll notice that a good chunk of my points come from making a good first pass. So the way I view it, there’s still a chance to get points as a defenseman even if you’re playing against the other team’s best.
DF: Recently, you were labelled as a "sleeper prospect" by Canucks Assistant GM Laurence Gilman. Do you feel any sort of additional pressure, given your rapid ascension to becoming someone that people are now keeping their eye on?
FC: It’s obviously nice to hear something like that said about you, but I can’t really focus on things like that. I need to keep developing my game, and staying on track with all of the pro habits that I’ve come across in recent years. I try not to put that sort of pressure on myself. If I did I think my head would explode. All I can do is control the things that I have the ability to control, which is how I present myself and how I perform on the ice.
DF: How do you feel like the lockout has affected you personally? Obviously there hasn’t been a preseason or training camp, both of which were huge for your development last year.
FC: I learned a ton at camp last year, and that has helped me quite a bit this year. But all I can do is apply those things, and be at my very best for camp next year.
DF: Do you ever go on Twitter or online to see what people – whether it’s fans, or writers – are saying about you? Or do you have people close to you that fill you in on something that involved your name?
FC: Most of the time people will tag me in a tweet, so that’ll come to my attention. But I don’t really go out of my way to search my name, and see what people are saying. It’s nice to think that people are writing good things about you, but there’s more to life than sitting in a dark room on a computer searching your name on Google. I’d like to think that I have a life outside of hockey [Laughs].
If Joseph LaBate doesn’t want to wait in line, he’ll have to fight for a higher ranking on next summer’s list.
DF: You were named the 7th best prospect in the Canucks orgnization by Canucks Army this summer. I talked to Joseph LaBate not too long ago, who told me that you guys got along really well during the prospects camp this year. He was our 8th ranked prospect. Personally, I’d use that information against him in the future. Who’s to say that there isn’t a massive tier drop-off between spots 7 and 8?
FC: Joey’s a great guy. I enjoyed spending time with him in Vancouver. As for his skills, the guy is pretty sick so I can’t really go around chirping him. But it’s definitely something I’ll keep in my arsenal for a rainy day [Laughs].
DF: Are you aware of the ‘Fake Canucks Season’ that Wyatt Arndt is currently doing on NHL13? I’d like you to weigh in on this. You were the final roster cut, but the fact remains that you were a fan favourite. You were even given the nickname ‘Captain Toe Drag’. You should have a higher rating than 53, shouldn’t you? What’s up with that?
FC: The fake season is hilarious. It has caught the attention of a lot of people, and I’m one of those people. It always stings when you can’t make the fake team, but I hope I went down swinging. The rating was a real kick in the chestnuts [Laughs]. You’d hope for a higher rating just for bragging rights.
DF: Thanks for taking the time to talk, Frank. I’d recommend for every Canucks fan to follow him on Twitter @frankcorrado22, give him the Canucks Army bump, and give him a hard time if he doesn’t continue to post 5 assist games. He told me that it’s reasonable to expect them now that he has done it once.