Canucks waive Biega, Vey and Corrado; Cracknell makes the team

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

You have to say this for the Jim Benning, Trevor Linden iteration of the Vancouver Canucks: they have the courage of their convictions and act boldly.

On Monday the Canucks placed defensemen Alex Biega, 27, and Frank Corrado, 22, as well as forward Linden Vey, 24, on waivers, the team announced. Corrado and Vey are extraordinarily young for players on the waiver wire, and likely have more upside than anyone else placed on waivers on Monday. 

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These decisions are notable for a variety of reasons. First of all, the club’s willingness to cut bait and run from Vey, a player whom they dealt a second-round draft pick for just 16 months ago, tells you that Benning and company have zero fear when it comes to admitting their mistakes and correcting course. That’s a very good and very rare trait for a modern NHL management team.

Secondly, the organization doesn’t have time for cutesy asset management maneuvers. 

We saw that a few summers ago when the club opted not to qualify Jordan Schroeder and Zac Dalpe, and we’re seeing it again today. The club had the option of reassigning Ben Hutton, who doesn’t require waivers, to the Utica Comets temporarily, and then recalling him after Chris Higgins was placed on LTIR. That would’ve permitted the club to avoid exposing Frank Corrado to the waiver wire (where I’d wager he will be claimed). 

Why the club decided to go in another direction is a bit of a mystery, but we’ll presumably find out more once Benning and company begin to address the media. One benefit though is that they can say to fans and to Ben Hutton directly: here you go kid, you made the team, without having to explain the CBA mechanics.

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From my perspective this is all a bit reckless frankly. Even if you prefer Adam Cracknell to Vey, why expose assets – particularly young, affordable assets – needlessly to the waiver wire when you could’ve just cut Cracknell and Biega, both of whom would’ve made it through waivers for sure, and saved these tough decisions for another day? Depending on what you think of Corrado and Vey, placing them on waivers may strike you as only marginal decisions, but in a salary cap league that is essentially an efficiency competition, even marginal errors add up. To death by a million cuts. 

While I think this is all a bit odd, I do have some admiration for the bold and decisive way the club operates. Cracknell won a spot and more properly fits in with their ideal of a fourth-line centreman than Vey does. So he’s made the team and they’ll live with the risk of Vey on waivers, never mind what they paid to acquire Vey at the 2014 NHL Draft. Hutton has showed enough to make the team, so they’re not going to temporarily reassign him so they can protect a guy like Corrado, whom Hutton beat out for a spot at camp. 

There’s something simple and noble about that logic, even if it’s not the way I think a prudent NHL team should operate. 

  • RIP

    @Dave: I think you nailed it. I worry that waiving Corrado is like trading away Lack. Mgt already committed to Sbisa and Miller, and they don’t want a controversy. Glad about Hutton though.

    Btw, I m glad that McCann is still playing, but I don’t think mgt “wasted” a 2nd round pick on Vey. That trade was a good gamble, even if isn’t panning out. Unlike the Sutter trade, which may pan out, but all available info, including other players available (eg Fehr), suggests that it’s not a very good gamble. This is hard to understand, I know, but like Drance says, it’s the marginal returns that will make a real difference under a salary cap. Simplistic talk about Benning haters/lovers doesn’t capture that complex thought process.

  • Spiel

    “I’m a firm believer in character, and that’s really a lack of character and judgment on his part.”
    Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin on Kass driving into a tree.
    The tree is doing fine.

  • Spiel

    Question: if Corrado gets claimed, does that mean Jordan Subban is next on the depth chart after Biega?

    If so, maybe another reason Corrado is being exposed is bc mgt is starting to believe in Subban?

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    With the list of people on waivers today, all three of these players will clear. If any team picks up one of them, they have to keep that player in the NHL all year, you cannot turn around and put them back on waivers. None of these players proven in pre-season that they are worth that kind of commitment to a roster spot.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    So, Higgins is still listed on the club’s 23 man roster…

    Does this mean Gaunce is going to be called up when Higgens gets put on IR?

    If not, the decision to waive Vey for nothing seems even more of a head scratcher.

  • wojohowitz

    I have said this before, but my opinion of prospect development is that it is more about ‘trajectory’ than any type of ‘stats’. This idea fits with today’s roster decisions.

    On the one hand you have guys like Virtanen and McCann, who are showing improvement throughout the pre-season and are clearly on an upward trajectory (maybe Virtanen still has more to prove here). Players like Gaunce (most improved player on Comets last season), Cassels, Shinkaruk and Subban also fit into this mould.

    On the other hand, you have guys like Corrado and Jensen, who have been in the AHL for a couple years now, and their upward trajectory has stalled to some extent. Vey was on a rapid upward trajectory when we acquired him, making it a reasonable gamble, but has since stalled. Biega has been stalled for a few years now. I think when guys stall like that for a season or two, their probability of success declines rapidly, and they lose a fair bit of value. I wouldn’t be so sad if we lost Corrado, because judging by his progress in the last couple years, he is unlikely to ever become a big time player.

    The guys you want to hold on to are the guys who are on those upward trajectories, regardless of where they are in the system. Look at Burrows, whose improvement took him from the ECHL all the way to the most productive line in hockey.

  • bigdaddykane

    One final note, a little bit of a shot at the CA writers. William Nyhlander got sent down today. Ehlers I’m not sure about. So did Timmo Mier. Virtanen did not. The leafs are not a better team than the Canucks, yet Nyhlander wasn’t deemed good enough yet to crack the lineup. But that’s none of my business 🙂

    • wojohowitz

      That really doesn’t mean anything because the Canucks can still send Virtanen down before the 9 game mark. Virtanen is here to start, let’s hope that he can stick.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    I would agree with the several posters here who have pointed out that Corrado was a 5th rounder, was outplayed, had his shot and seemed he was a flash in the pan,(and not that shiny) but who basically played his way off the team etc etc etc. I think that waiving him was easy for GMJB with Subban waiting in the wings, who also outplayed Corrado in camp. As to Vey, Cracknell will more than better Vey’s time just playing 4C. Yes maybe a bit disappointing to get nothing for him if he is claimed on waivers, as he cost a 2nd rounder, but he was given the keys to the kingdom all last season, and showed next to nothing, as he did in camp. If a better option comes along than Cracknell, Utica gets some 4C depth, and he’s cheap.

  • wojohowitz

    I am getting so sick of the writers and some of the comments on this site. All summer we have heard hand ringing about Kassian for Prust, we won. We heard about how Markstrom could not replace Lack, so far he is playing better than Lack. We heard that they will never admit Vey isn’t worth it. Bye bye Vey. How Benning would never actually deliver on getting younger, gee look at the line up. Now we hear how terrible it is that Corrado is possibly gone. First, if he is picked up he must be on the NHL team for the entire year, or Vancouver can get him back. If you were Vancouver would you guarantee him a spot all year based on his performance to date? Probably not and neither will others I’m betting. He has been passed on the chart by at least one person. IN order not to have Higgins on LTR till November, they needed a spot. So you take a risk of losing a guy who no, NO analyst has projected as more than a no.5 dman in the future. We have plenty of those coming. If we have injuries we have Biega and maybe Pedan and Subban ready, so stop the negativity about management. They have been honest. Hate Sbisa if you like, but he hits more than Corrado and he could still develop more.

    • wojohowitz

      So true.

      It has been somewhat annoying listen to people continually slam every move management makes. Of course, I am confused sometimes, but I have not spent most of my life as close to the game as management has either. Sometimes we need to relax and trust a little. Look how last year worked out (before the playoffs).


      They rewarded those who worked hardest. How can anyone not respect that mentality. It sounds like the best way to make a winning team to me.

  • Vanoxy

    Got to give credit when it is due! Benning was a nice surprise today,he went against his young coaches wishes and left Vey unprotected and kept his word about the kids!

    Maybe this yrs. team will be entertaining afterall. This Cracknell is a prototype tough in your face 4th liner,capable of playing this role admirably.
    Hutton has tremendous upside and I love Virtanen.
    McCann is not as big and fiesta but he is young and has shown a quick release and willingness to fire the puck. These nucks of 2015 will be hard to playagainst and with todays moves a playoff spot actually is in the realm of possibility, hurrah!

  • Vanoxy

    very good job by benning overall, i’d say! the guy doesn’t dither. he’s not too tricky for his hat, like that gillis fellow is he?

    i’m a little perplexed about corrado but I figure management got a really long look from angles the fans don’t get and made a decision. that corrado even put that decision on the table for them is his own fault. he obviously hasn’t done what he needed to do over the last couple of years. when i first saw him a couple of years ago i figured he’d be in the top four by now. that he was waived means the guy must have really taken some backward steps. too bad. maybe subban will get his spot next year.

    I’m very excited to see what this team can do. benning is a speed demon. that’s some fast transformation! not just the players but the philosophy, too. zoom!

  • Vanoxy

    What are the waiver rules about the number one team can lose? Can we lose all three? And if they do clear waivers can the be recalled without re-entry waivers?

    I also am not sure about the hand-wringing about asset management. Vey is basically Alex Mallet, Yann Sauve, Anton Rodin, and Taylor Ellington. I’ve seen a lot on this site decrying having him on the team for the last year so I’m not sure why some might be angry about ‘wasting’ him — though I’m also surprised that the Canucks made the move. Corrodo is I guess the one I’m the most surprised about but then he seemed like a bit of an underwhelming presence the last two years.

    Also on Vey — I would add that it’s not like we’re going to be seeing the mistake rubbed in our face since LA sent McKeown and a first to Carolina for renting Sekera for a few months.

    • Orville Wright

      There are no re-entry waivers with the new CBA. A player recalled would have to clear waivers again if they are up for a certain time ( i think 30 days ) and I think it is 10 games played.

  • wojohowitz

    Are you sure its “Secondly, the organization doesn’t have time for cutesy asset management maneuvers.” and not “Secondly, the organization doesn’t have THE INTELLIGENCE NECESSARY for cutesy asset management maneuvers.”?
    My concern is that it is the latter and not the former. Also, if they really aren’t afraid to correct mistakes, WHY DOES SBISA HAVE A CONTRACT????? This. Team. Is. Frustrating.

  • wojohowitz

    There`s no doubt about their depth at the forward position in Utica but we must assume Benning is comfortable with his depth on defence. Typically as many as ten defencemen may be needed if injuries become a problem. It has happened before.

  • wojohowitz

    Higgins won’t be placed on LTIR.

    Vey did not show well at all in camp and does not deserve to make the team.

    Corrado was nothing special. He could still develop but he did not impress and did not take anyone’s job.

    I expect both guys to clear waivers especially Vey. I can’t imagine many teams wanting to use roster spots on Vey or Corrado.

  • wojohowitz

    I have a secret for you. Vey and Corrado are not very good NHL players and likely never will be. VEY does not appear likely to be a top6 player on a good team and Frank is not very big and likely a 5th to 8th defensemen top end. We will not miss them except for possibly depth reasons and there are other possible recall options.

    • wojohowitz

      Which begs the question… Why did GMJB give up a 2nd round pick in a deep 2015 draft for Vey if he is that great a judge of talent? Did he make a mistake? Or did he knowingly trade for Vey to make Coach Willy happy (despite all signs pointing to Vey being a marginal player)? Not sure which answer is worst…