Since he first reported to Canucks camp in the fall of 2011 – and actually technically before that at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton that September – Frank Corrado has impressed Canucks fans, media and brass with his steady, two-way play. Corrado’s play has apparently caught more than just the attention of Canucks observers and prospect-ophiles, and today it was announced today that Corrado has been invited to Team Canada’s selection camp for the 2012 World Junior Championship tournament
Read on past the jump.
Frank Corrado’s rise over the past few seasons – from complete unknown, to promising prospect, to dominant two-way force in the OHL, to a legitimate candidate for one of the seven blueline spots available on Team Canada’s under-21 team roster – has been nothing short of meteoric. To put it in perspective, Corrado was drafted the latest among all of the defenseman invited to this years Team Canada selection camp by 85 picks.
Corrado will be in tough to ultimately earn one of the seven available spots. The consensus appears to be that the top-four jobs will be given to: Dougie Hamilton, Morgan Rielly, Scott Harrington and Xavier Oulette. Beyond those four, I’d personally be astonished if Ryan Murphy is left off the team. That leaves seven more names competing for two available slots, and I’d describe Corrado as somewhat of a "long shot" to earn his way onto the team.
He does have a couple of things working in his favour, however. First of all, Columbus prospect Ryan Murray will miss the tournament (and the rest of the season) with an injury. Murray is a right-side defenseman, and presumably his absence could open up a spot for Corrado to slide in as a depth option.
Secondly, this years World Junior Championship will be held in Ufa, Russia on international ice. As opposed to being an imposing physical force, Corrado is known for his fleet skating, quick decision making and crisp passing. In theory, his game might translate better onto international ice than, say, Griffin Reinhardt’s or Matt Pelech’s.
His maturity could also prove to be an advantage as well, over the likes of say Matt Dumba – a player with all the raw skill imaginable, but who has struggled with consistency this season.
For whatever it’s worth, Kevin Pendergrast – Hockey Canada’s head scout – praised Corrado’s two-way play and "grittiness."
Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Pendergast on Frank Corrado: "He fit the bill for us being a defensive type of player" Calls him "gritty".
— Cam Charron (@camcharron) December 3, 2012
While Frank Corrado lacks some of the offensive upside or "star potential" that some of his fellow invitees possess, he’s a known quantity – a steady defensive player and a locker room leader with good foot-speed, who you can trust to log shifts late in a close game. Team Canada has often opted to wood with exactly that type of "glue guy" on past national junior team rosters, so you have to think that Frank Corrado has a shot, albeit an outside one.
Beyond Frank Corrado’s Team Canada shot, the Canucks will only own the rights to one other prospect who will compete at this years World Junior Championships (barring a major surprise, like Joseph LaBate getting a US selection camp invite tomorrow) – and he won’t even be in the actual tournament. That prospect of course, is Danish winger Nicklas Jensen who is sure to impress as Denmark plays in the qualifying tournament in an effort to return to the WJC next year.