Back on December 4th I wrote a lengthy review of the first 30 games of the season for the Vancouver Canucks. In the section on defensemen, I had the following to say:
"The biggest storyline on the blueline for the Canucks through the first 1/3 of the season has to be the remarkable bill of health they’ve been enjoying. Excluding Alex Edler’s 3-game suspension back in the 2nd week of the season, John Tortorella has been able to use the same 6 defensemen for every single game.. which seems unprecedented."
I’m sorry if I jinxed it, but I think we all figured that it was only a matter of time before the pendulum swung in the other direction, and their fortunes changed. Sure enough, defensemen are dropping like flies at this point.
With the most recent injury sustained by Andrew Alberts – following an ugly incident involving a facepuncher, sigh – the team has finally succumbed, calling up young Frank(ie) Corrado after fans had been clamouring for them to do so ever since Alex Edler went down weeks ago. I’m just glad to see that the team went with the best player available in this case rather than putting too much stock into which side he plays on (Corrado is another guy that plays the right, by the way). Take note, Team Canada.
We love Corrado around these parts. We had him ranked as the team’s 2nd best prospect back in the summer, and felt fairly confident about it as a group. He had a few bumps here and there during his 7-game run here last season, but all things considered, I thought he acquitted himself quite well.
We spent a lot of time wondering how the Canucks would decide to handle him this year, but Ryan Stanton’s emergence made the call easy for them. He has spent the first 29 games of the AHL year in Utica, handling a heavy load on the blueline for the Comets. Our prospect writer Josh W has put together some cool graphics for us, which really come in handy in analyzing how players are doing in the AHL (since, you know, the league refuses to provide any sort of relevant statistics themselves):
So don’t let the fact that he has only 5 points to his name fool you. He has been given an opportunity to play heavy minutes – Josh says that according to his estimates Corrado is 2nd on the team in time on ice – against some tough competition. And then there’s this goal differential chart, which puts him with the 5th best rate on the team:
While I’d normally say that we should temper expectations with a young player like Corrado, he has shown the maturity and ability to adapt to his competition like a player well beyond his years. I’m sure that he’ll do fine, making the team’s decision on what to do with him difficult once again when guys like Stanton and Edler start getting healthy.