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?