This Canucks season just got a whole lot more interesting.
The Canucks have finalized their opening night roster, placing Frank Corrado, Linden Vey and Alex Biega on waivers. That means that Vancouver will start the season with three raw rookies on their roster, including a pair of teenagers. Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, Ben Hutton and Adam Cracknell have made the team.
The demotions of Frank Corrado and Linden Vey comes as some surprise, despite their lackluster preseasons. Both players require waivers in order to be sent to the AHL, which means every team in the league will have a chance to claim them for free.
The decision to waive Corrado is particularly puzzling, when you consider that he is only 22-years-old in an organization short on defence prospects. It’s interesting that GM Jim Benning decided to waive Vey also, considering he was acquired for a second round draft pick just 16 months ago.
Last year’s first round picks, Virtanen (19) and McCann (19), spent the majority of last season in junior. Ben Hutton (22) spent last season with the University of Maine.
Virtanen was expected to make the Canucks opening night roster by many, but McCann and Hutton were both long shots. The odds of all three making it were extremely remote, but all three impressed in preseason and earned their way onto the roster.
Ben Hutton was probably the most impressive of the three in preseason, leading the team in scoring as a defenceman with 5 points in 7 games. He provides an offensive flare that the Canucks missed on their back-end last season.
Jared McCann was the talk of the preseason given the way he outplayed incumbent Linden Vey, and winning the 4th line centre spot. McCann looked fast and showed off a hard wrist shot, notching 4 points in 6 preseason games.
Jake Virtanen scored 4 points in 6 games during the preseason also. He was one of the team’s fastest players and likely their best (and most frequent) bodychecker.
Opening the year in the NHL does not guarantee a season-long roster spot, but it does bode well for the future. The cavalry is coming and we’re beginning to see the makings of the Canucks’ future core group.