Are the Canucks saying “Thanks but no thanks” to their rookies?
Frank Corrado and Hunter Shinkaruk played so well for the Canucks in the preseason that they should be playing in the season opener on Thursday night! (Preseason stats: Corrado – 1G, 1A; Shinkaruk – 2G, 1A).
That’s the sentiment we’ve heard from many fans and members of the media upon finding out Corrado was headed back to the AHL on Thursday and Shinkaruk to the WHL today (Monday).
Looking at who will replace them in the lineup – Andrew Alberts, Yannick Weber and Ryan Stanton at D; Zac Dalpe at F – it’s understandable why they feel the Canucks are downgrading.
Fact is they are downgrading.
But here’s yet another chance to use the phrase we always hear when things suck: short term pain leads to long term gain.
Don’t get me wrong – things don’t suck for the Canucks right now.
From Coach Torts’ himself: Corrado could stay on the Canucks as a sixth or seventh defenseman and play eight or nine minutes a game, or he can play 25 minutes per game in all situations in Utica.
In reality, the young defenseman is good enough to make the Canucks now, and he’s probably an upgrade on Andrew Alberts. The difference between the two is their upside. While Alberts will never be more than a depth defenseman, Corrado has the potential to be an impact player. Same with Shinkaruk.
Playing small roles on the big team is a nice experience, but it doesn’t serve much purpose other than letting a youngster see life in the big leagues. It doesn’t allow them to develop, it doesn’t allow them to play, and it definitely doesn’t add to their confidence levels – cooling down on the bench while waiting for your rare shift, and then trying to make the most of that opportunity without screwing up is not the best way to fuel a player’s self-esteem.
So fans, don’t lament not seeing the three youngsters (Bo Horvat included) in the lineup now.
The plan is to have the best team on the ice come playoff time in April (don’t be surprised to see Corrado in that lineup), and to have a group of players ready to take over when the current core expires.
We just need to have faith that it’ll be worth the wait.
Photo: Jeff Vinnick