Wolf to Ranger
Frank Corrado will now be wearing the red, white and blue.
No, the Vancouver Canucks didn’t trade his rights to the New York Rangers, or USA Hockey for that matter, his Ontario Hockey League club, the Sudbury Wolves, dealt him to the Kitchener Rangers in a blockbuster deal Tuesday.
Corrado had spent his entire three and a half season OHL career with the Wolves, playing in 231 regular season games that saw him post 92 points (14-78-92) and 265 penalty-minutes. The Wolves are a young team built to compete down the road, but for Corrado, in what should be his final season of junior hockey, he wants to win now.
“They approached me and wondered what my thoughts were,” Corrado told Canucks.com. “I told them if there was a trade that made sense for both sides that I would be interested. They were going in a different direction and wanted to add some youth and it made sense for me to go to Kitchener, they are a team that wants to go for it and I am obviously very excited about it.”
Corrado now joins a team that is built to win now and has a tradition of winning. The Rangers won the Memorial Cup in 2003 and lost in the final game to the Spokane Chiefs in 2008. Kitchener, also home to fellow Canucks prospect Evan McEneny, currently sits in fourth place in the OHL’s Western Conference with a 22-13-1-4 record, good for 49 points.
Needless to say, Corrado is more than thrilled to join a team that has a chance at the Memorial Cup.
“I am obviously very happy, they are one of the premier organizations and I am really excited to get started,” said Corrado. “Coach (Steve) Spott is a good coach and I just want to learn a lot and help these guys win. They have a winning tradition here and I want to stick to that.”
Wait, what? Did Corrado just say coach Spott? As in the same coach Spott that recently cut the Canucks prospect from the Canadian National Junior Team?
If you guessed yes, you are correct!
Spott liked what he saw in Corrado at the Team Canada evaluation camp in Calgary, so much so, that the Rangers coach and general manager wanted to make a trade for him.
“Having had the opportunity to work with Frank in Calgary solidified my eagerness to try and acquire his rights,” Spott told Canucks.com on Wednesday. “He is a versatile defenseman that has a pro shot, good skating ability and is a natural leader.”
Corrado feels comfortable to now be playing under the same coach that recently sent him packing.
“It’s not too weird; there is a side of the sport that I don’t know how those decisions work. All I can do is play hockey and obviously he sees enough in me to have me in Kitchener.
“I am just excited to be here.”
Corrado made his Rangers debut on Tuesday night and picked up one assist in a 6-2 win over the Guelph Storm. After playing so many years in Sudbury, putting on the Rangers jersey was a bit different for the 6-foot defenseman, to say the least.
“Nothing felt normal that night, but I thought I had a good game,” said Corrado. “It was nice to get out their right away rather than let the suspense build and have to wait a few days.”
Corrado’s hometown is Woodbridge, Ontario, about a four hour drive from Sudbury, which made it difficult for friends and family to see him play too often. Kitchener is a little closer to home, approximately an hour away, something that excites 2011 fifth-round draft pick, as his parents will be able to attend every game and he will be able to get home once in a while.
Corrado is wearing number 10 for the Rangers, not his first choice in number, but he likes it. The accustomed number 22 fans were used to seeing him wear in Sudbury is retired in Kitchener. The late Gary Crosby wore number 22 for the Rangers back in 1969-70, and shortly after signing an NHL contract with the Los Angeles Kings, Crosby was killed in a car crash.
Corrado’s next choice was number 2, but it was taken, as is number 4, so 10 it is.
Even though Corrado just got to Kitchener, he may be on his way out soon, as all signs point to him attending the Canucks training camp, which is expected to start shortly. If the call comes, Corrado hopes to absorb as much as he can and continue to amaze the Canucks brass.
“For me, going into a camp I just want to learn as much as I can and keep the good impressions going,” said Corrado. “It doesn’t matter how long you’re there for, you’re going to learn a little bit. It’s a good experience.”