I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Sudbury Wolves defenseman Frankie Corrado to reflect on a solid rookie season, and his plans heading into his NHL draft year. Corrado, a 17 year old Woodbridge native, was the 25th Overall Pick in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, taken by the Wolves with their first of two picks in the round.
Standing at 6’0″ and 174 lbs, Corrado is a smooth skating defenseman who notched a goal and 9 points in 63 games last season. While the numbers won’t blow anyone away, many are expecting big things from Corrado this season, as he is set to take on a much bigger role with the Wolves. Corrado showed considerable poise as he became more familiar with the OHL as the season wore on, and with a good season in 2010/11, he should definitely make his way onto the NHL radar. Without further ado, here is my interview with Frankie.
Thanks for joining us, Frankie, we really appreciate you taking the time.
Not a problem, thanks for having me.
You were a pretty highly touted player in your OHL draft year, how did you handle not being selected in the first round of the 2009 OHL Priority Selection?
Obviously it’s something that you strive for all year long, and it’s great recognition. But you have to be able to expect things to happen, especially in a draft where nothing is certain. I took it with a grain of salt and realized that the opportunity to play an integral role, may not have been as good on a stronger team picking late in the first round, and going to the Wolves in the second round obviously is a great situation for me, and I’m hoping to build off of last year and help the Wolves in a bigger role this year.
Obviously the Wolves were pleasantly surprised when your name was still on the board at their pick in round two, what were your thoughts on Sudbury when you were selected by the Wolves at 25th Overall?
I had been up to Sudbury on a couple occasions for the Big Nickel tournament, and enjoyed the city both times I was up. I never made it out to a Wolves game, but I did manage to catch two, by fluke in my MM season because they were playing in Mississauga and Brampton. I was somewhat surprised that they would opt to go with two defecnemen with their first two picks, but I was also happy that they were serious about moving in a new direction, and having young players play a key role on their team.
What were you expecting when making the jump from Minor Midget AAA to the OHL, and how did you train during the summer to prepare yourself for the season, especially considering your broken collarbone?
I was expecting everything I was told. Players would be bigger, faster, stronger, more skilled, and smarter. Obviously I was preparing for the season by being in the gym and working on my strength and speed, but I suffered a broken collar-bone at the Team Ontario Under-17 Evaluation Camp in late June. This injury put me on the shelf for about 2 months with regards to lifting and working out full body, but in the month of August I was able to salvage some of my workout routine by doing two a day cardio workouts to keep my speed and cardio at its top level, which really helped me because my speed is a big part of my game.
You progressively saw more ice-time with the Wolves as the season went on, was the OHL what you expected, or did you encounter any surprises?
Coming straight into the regular season without playing any exhibition games was obviously a big change of pace coming from MM, but as time went on, and practicing everyday, I was able to get my bearings on the speed and strength of players. I really took the Christmas Break to realize what I needed to do to become not only better for myself, but better for the Wolves, and play a key role on their team. And obviously with a couple key injuries I was able to move up in the line-up and stay there for the better part of the second half of the season, and that truly helped me with my learning curve, and helps me realize what I need to do to be a force on the back end this year.
Did you keep in contact with any of your former Vaughan Kings teammates such as Owen Sound Goaltender Jordan Binnington throughout the year?
Yea, he was in Owen Sound, and we would talk at least once a month. We were a very tight knit team in MM and Jordan and I were two players who played a leadership role and obviously we want it to translate over to the next level. We talked about school, hockey, billets, everything that changed for us, and we continued our relationship over into the next level.
How big of a disappointment was it not being selected for the Under 17 team, and did it affect your outlook for the rest of the season?
Obviously I wanted to be there, there’s no denying that. But in the long run, it did not affect my season. I got over it pretty quick because with Justin gone I was able to play a lot more and find a bit of a groove that I may not have hit if I were to play in the Under-17 tournament. Obviously there’s nothing better than representing where you live, and being in the Hockey Canada system, but in the long run it benefited me staying in Sudbury and finding my groove, and continuing to keep it for the most part of the second half.
You’re going into your NHL draft year, are you preparing any differently for the upcoming season knowing that there will be bigger expectations for you?
I don’t want to put any added pressure on myself to do things differently. I’m keeping it simple but effective. I’m taking my training seriously, I’m keeping myself on the ice throughout the summer, and I’m mentally preparing for what I hope is a long season. I think that I have the right mindset going into the season that with team success comes individual success, and I don’t need to do anything different than making smart plays, moving the puck, being responsible defensively, and surely the points will come.
Have you spoken with a player like John McFarland at all to help understand the transition from being a rookie to a sophomore and the pressures of the NHL Draft?
Yeah, John and I keep in touch throughout the summer. He basically told me to keep my fitness level up, always keep a level head and to make sure I show what I’m capable of night in and night out. Having John around helped me last season coming into the OHL and I believe he can give me the right pointers and advice seeing as he was one of the top athletes at this years Combine.
You’re obviously going to be making a big jump in your role on the Wolves next season, what types of things are you expecting from yourself in your game next year?
Obviously I want to play my game within a team system, and with the opportunity I want to be a key contributor on a Wolves team that I hope will be a contender and go far into the playoffs. In regards to myself, I want to keep my game simple but effective because that’s the way I’ve always been and that is what has gotten me this far in my career. I want to move the puck, skate the puck out of trouble, run a consistent power-play, and make sure I’m making responsible decisions in my own defensive zone as well as the neutral zone and offensive zone. At the conclusion of this season I want to be able to look in the mirror and say that I left everything on the ice, and have nothing left more to give.
Thanks again for the time, Frankie, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.
Not a problem, thanks for the opportunity!
It will be an interesting year for Corrado, as he will be expected to take a major step forward as a player that the Wolves can depend on. He showed considerable poise on the powerlay as the season progressed, and he will have an opportunity to really elevate his point totals next year as he should be ready to step in as the team’s powerplay quarterback. Without a doubt, one of the nicer kids you’ll meet in the OHL, Corrado’s progress next year will be worthwhile following as he looks to help the Wolves take a step forward in the standings.
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