Tag: Frank Corrado

Vancouver Canucks ’15-16 Outlook


It was another eventful offseason in Vancouver, the second under GM Jim Benning, and it left both fans and media asking the same question:

What exactly are the Canucks doing?

To hear Benning explain it, the plan is simple in theory, yet difficult to execute — rebuild while staying competitive, giving young players a winning environment in which to grow.

“From the time I took the job (14 months ago) until 10 days ago, I went at it hard,” Benning explained, per the Vancouver Sun. “It hasn’t been easy. I’ll admit it — it’s been hard. I’ve had to make hard decisions to try to remain competitive while building for the future. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

“But for the most part, we’ve been able to accomplish that this summer.”

Some will argue with that last remark.

This summer, Benning took heat for a variety of his moves, most notably his trade of popular (and relatively successful) backup goalie Eddie Lack to Carolina for a third-round pick, which many saw as a middling return. After tiring of the Zack Kassian experiment, the Canucks cut bait and got what they could in exchange — 31-year-old Habs tough guy Brandon Prust — then paid a tidy sum to acquire third-line Pittsburgh center Brandon Sutter, paying him an even tidier sum to be their second-line center ($21.875 million over five years, specifically).

In the end, it’s tough to say the Canucks got any better this summer. It’s tough to say they stayed even. Most say they got worse.

And that makes next year’s outlook kinda bleak.

Sure, the same old suspects remain — the Sedins, Alex Burrows, Radim Vrbata, Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler — but they’re all a year older, and now surrounded by kids. Bo Horvat, 20, projects to be the No. 3 center while winger Sven Baertschi, 22, will get a shot at the top-six. Former first-round pick Jake Virtanen (18) figures to get a long look in training camp, and Frank Corrado (22) will likely be in on defense. Other prospects like Hunter Shinkaruk, Nicklas Jensen, Brendan Gaunce and Jared McCann could all get looks, too.

Which makes for an odd dynamic, especially since the Canucks were competitive last year, registering 101 points and a playoff spot. But their opening-round loss to Calgary only confirmed what most suspected — Vancouver was a flawed team, nowhere close to contending.

Now, the club heads into this season minus the services of veteran contributors like Kevin Bieksa, Shawn Matthias and Brad Richardson — jobs that will be filled by (the aforementioned) inexperienced players. And should injuries strike the team’s aging core, it could be grim; at no position is this more concerning than in goal, where 35-year-old Ryan Miller, who missed extensive time with a knee injury last season, is backed up by a total wildcard in Jacob Markstrom.

Oh, and lest we forget, the Canucks play in a tough Pacific Division in which the Ducks, Kings, Flames and Oilers all made significant upgrades this summer.

If you believe Benning, though, his moves weren’t designed to make the Canucks less competitive.

The way he sees it, the club is more versatile than ever.

“What we’re trying to do is build a team that can play whatever style the game dictates,” he explained. “So we’ve made some changes this summer. I thought maybe in the playoffs we didn’t play with the intensity and emotion to step up in a playoff series and win.

“We’ve got some good, young, skill players coming up. But we want to surround them with players who fit.”

Canucks’ biggest question: Where’s the upside?

Slovakia v Canada - Semifinal - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Not long after Trevor Linden was named the Canucks’ president of hockey operations in 2014, he bemoaned the lack of young players making an impact for the team.

“I like the people we have in [our] core positions, but they need support from the bottom,” Linden said. “There’s a gap between the core players and what’s coming from below them. There hasn’t been a real push from the bottom and that’s created issues.”

That narrative still applies a year later. Even if 20-year-old center Bo Horvat can build on his impressive rookie season, the Canucks will likely need more from their youngsters in order to remain a playoff team.

Jacob Markstrom is one player that could make a significant impact. The 25-year-old goalie, coming off a stellar season in the AHL, will be Ryan Miller’s backup in 2015-16. For a bubble team like Vancouver, goaltending could very well be the difference between making and missing the postseason.

There’s also Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft. The Canucks are hoping the 18-year-old winger can be the power forward they once hoped Zack Kassian could be for them.

“[Virtanen] can play the skill game and the physical game,” said director of player personnel Stan Smyl, per the Times Colonist. “He can go through people. He can hit people, and he doesn’t care who he hits.”

Virtanen still has to make the team, but he should be given every opportunity to do so. Otherwise, it’s back to junior.

Then there’s Frank Corrado, the 22-year-old, right-shot defenseman who will try to help replace Kevin Bieksa.

And Sven Baertschi, the 22-year-old winger who’s shown promising signs since being traded to the Canucks from Calgary.

And Linden Vey, the 24-year-old forward who conceded that his “preparation last summer wasn’t what it needed to be.”

Ronalds Kenins, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce, Nicklas Jensen, Jared McCann, Cole Cassels, and Alexandre Grenier are among the other prospects to watch.

It’s no secret that the Canucks have an aging core. The Sedin twins are 34. So are Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata. Dan Hamhuis and Chris Higgins are 32. Miller is 35.

It’s also no secret that the Canucks did not draft well for a number of years. From 2006 to 2012, the only players they selected that have played in the NHL and remain in the organization are Corrado and Jensen.

Hence, Vancouver’s failure to remain an elite team, and hence, the need to become better at identifying and developing talent.

Related: Vote on whether the Canucks will make the playoffs

Canucks re-sign Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening

San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks added depth to their blue line on Thursday by re-signing restricted free agent defensemen Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening.

According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Clendening’s deal is a one-year, two-way contract worth $760,000.

Clendening was acquired by the Canucks from the Chicago Blackhawks in January.

The 22-year-old appeared in 17 games with Vancouver following the trade registering two assists and eight penalty minutes while averaging 17:27 in time on ice.

Clendening also appeared in 11 American Hockey League games with the Utica Comets scoring a goal and adding four assists. He added three goals and five helpers in 23 Calder Cup playoff games.

“When (Clendening is) playing his game, he has a good stick and covers the lanes and uses body positioning for cutting down angles,” Canucks’ GM Jim Benning told The Province. “The best part of this game is his hockey sense and ability to move the puck up ice fast. And he has a good shot from the point and has his head up. He can walk the line and spot people in front of the net. He had a real good playoff down there (Utica) and looked like he’s ready to play.”

Corrado appeared in 10 games with the Canucks during the 2014-15 season scoring one goal and registering a minus-7 rating.

In 35 AHL games with the Comets, the 22-year-old scored seven goals and nine assists. He added one goal and 24 penalty minutes in 18 Calder Cup playoff games.

“It was my first year in the Western Conference and one thing I learned was that for whatever reason — the number of games and the travel — you go through a lot of defencemen,” said Benning. “At one point, we were on our 11th defenceman in the organization and we’re going to start off carrying eight probably.”

After 10-game absence, Tanev (concussion) back for Canucks


The Vancouver Canucks will get some much-needed defensive reinforcements tonight against Anaheim, as Chris Tanev will play for the first time since suffering a concussion on Feb. 14.

“It will be fun to get back out there,” Tanev said, per News 1130. “I am just going to go out there, work hard and trying and keep things simple. They are a good team over there so it will be a tough game to jump right back in to.”

Tanev, a pending RFA, was averaging nearly 22 minutes a night for Vancouver prior to getting hurt and is arguably the club’s top defensive defenseman. He leads the team and sits 16th in the NHL in blocked shots, with 131.

Tanev will be paired with Alex Edler and join Dan Hamhuis, Luca Sbisa, Ryan Stanton and Frank Corrado on the Vancouver defense tonight. Corrado is in for Adam Clendening, who’ll sit; fellow defenseman Kevin Bieksa remains sidelined following hand surgery.

Bieksa’s injury presents an opportunity for Canucks’ Corrado

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

With Kevin Bieksa on the shelf for six-to-eight weeks following surgery on his hand, a window of opportunity has presented itself for Frank Corrado on the Vancouver Canucks blueline.

Corrado, 21, has been with the Canucks since early January, but appeared in just four games registering a goal and a minus-3 rating while averaging just over 16 minutes in ice time.

He’s also appeared in 21 games with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League this season scoring four goals and eight points while collecting 17 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” said Corrado following Monday’s practice. “I think I put some good work in in the AHL and even up here in times when I didn’t play, I thought I put a lot of good work in. Now I like where my game is at and I like the confidence I play with.”

Corrado was paired with veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis at practice on Monday.

“He’s great, you guys know the type of player he is, he’s easy to play with,” said Corrado of Hamhuis. “He makes the game easy for you and I just want to reciprocate that and make the game as easy as I can for him and be a good partner.”

Corrado knows he alone won’t be replacing Bieksa.

Bieksa was second among Canucks’ defensemen averaging 21:16 in ice time. The 33-year-old was also third on the team in hits and blocked shots.

“You just have to play your game when you get the chance and show what you can do,” said Corrado. “At the end of the day it’s about the team winning, so if you can contribute to that, you’re doing well.

“The team is obviously going to miss Kev, he’s a big part of the team and does so much in the dressing room and on the ice for us, but it’s up to the whole D-core to fill that void and that rests upon all of us, not just one player.”

The Canucks return to action Tuesday when they play host to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have won two of the three meetings between the two clubs this season, but the Canucks have managed to salvage at least a point in the three games.