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.