The Vancouver Canucks selected Abbotsford's Jake Virtanen with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Virtanen has most likely made Vancouver's opening night roster for the 2015-16 season

Canucks send Vey, Biega, Corrado through waivers; Virtanen, Hutton, McCann still in Vancouver

The Vancouver Canucks made a minimal step – and still a bold leap – toward the future on Monday...

You wanted change. Here it is.

The Vancouver Canucks took another bold step towards a potentially brighter, marginally younger future on Monday, demoting Linden Vey, Frank Corrado, and Alex Biega to the AHL – although all three will have to clear waivers, meaning they’re at risk of being claimed by another NHL team.

That means rookies Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, and Ben Hutton have likely made Vancouver’s opening night roster, joining 20-year-old Bo Horvat on a fresher Orcas team.

Adam Cracknell is also still on the Canucks’ roster.

“I think it was just a matter of merit. We talked about that in the summer, that if we had young players that were pushing for jobs we’d make room, and I think we saw that through the preseason,” said Trevor Linden, the Canucks president of hockey operations, on the radio with TSN 1040 Vancouver on Monday.

“Guys that deserve to be here are here, and that’s the way we’re going to start.”

And while there’s a good chance either Vey or Corrado could be scooped up by a competitor, the NHL’s waiver and free agent market is flooded with other established names – Curtis Glencross, Mason Raymond, Paul Byron, and Max Talbot, among others who remain unclaimed or unsigned.

“That’s obviously a possibility,” said Linden, referring to the waiver situation, specifically with Corrado I think our view is that Frankie needs some time at the American League level… We owed it to a guy like Ben Hutton that deserved to be here to be here.

“Keeping a player here just to have him here is not serving that player well, either,” said Linden, again talking specifically about Corrado.

Linden said keeping Ben Hutton was the “easiest decision” the management team made in settling on their roster, adding that “many nights” the 22-year-old defender was their best player along the blueline.

Linden lauded Hutton for his exciting play, his decision-making, his awareness, and his poise with the puck.

‘C’ Change

McCann, Virtanen, and Hutton all impressed during the preseason, as did the now-demoted Biega, and were key offensive contributors alongside Canucks veterans like Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Radim Vrbata, and the rest.

If all three players stick, it would definitely be a change in culture for a Vancouver franchise that has, up until very recently, valued tenure above all else. While Hutton (22 years old), Virtanen (19), and McCann (19) aren’t much younger than Corrado (22), Vey (24), or Ronalds Kenins (24), they are less experienced.

And after a summer of significant character losses – longtime defender Kevin Bieksa and fan favourite goalie Eddie Lack were shipped to Anaheim and Carolina for spare parts and others’ opportunities – today’s announcement certainly leaves a wake.

(And for those who have said they just simply don’t understand the direction the Canucks have taken this season, they might say the same about Monday – while Vey has just failed to outplay Virtanen, Cracknell, and McCann, there is some surprise about the waiving of Frank Corrado, who has been knocking on the NHL’s door for three seasons now.)

With the injury to Chris Higgins and the departure of Nick Bonino, who was traded to Pittsburgh for replacement Brandon Sutter, the Canucks could field an opening night lineup that features up to seven completely new faces – Virtanen, McCann, Hutton, Sutter, Cracknell, Brandon Prust, and Matt Bartkowski – as well as new backup goalie Jacob Markstrom and playmaking forward Sven Baertschi, who was acquired at last season’s trade deadline and still has that new car smell.

Of course, today’s moves might not be as definite or thunderous as they seem right now.

Both Virtanen and McCann can play up to nine games in the NHL as an audition, and may be sent down if they don’t impress in that time. As well, since Jim Benning took over as Vancouver’s general manager in 2014, the Canucks have invested much more into Utica’s on-ice product, so perhaps this is just an example of how fluid their movies between both levels will be.

Vey, Biega, Kenins, and Corrado will be cogs for Travis Green’s Comets team, and can be recalled to Vancouver if they clear waivers by Tuesday.

If Hutton were to be sent down, he would play for Utica, while Virtanen and McCann would have to be sent back to their junior teams in Calgary and Sault Ste. Marie, respectively.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

World War II veteran, and former POW, Hans Andersen is seen at his home in Maple Ridge Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
WWII veteran Hans Andersen recalls his time fighting in Europe

99-year-old Maple Ridge resident places a wreath at Cloverdale Cenotaph each year

Fraser Health Authority closed Valhalla Distribution/MSJ Distribution in Delta on Oct. 3, 2020 after 23 employees at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. (Google Maps screenshot)
Fraser Health says outbreaks over at Surrey meat-processing facility, Delta distribution centre

Health authority says it worked with facilities ‘to strengthen their COVID-19 mitigation strategies’

Students at Janice Churchill Elementary count the ballots following the school election on Oct. 26, 2018. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Local Student Vote mirrors Surrey’s election results

Nearly 8,000 students voted in mock election

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, with another at Sullivan Heights

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

This Halloween display by a Maple Ridge family, seen here Oct. 31 in the 23600 block of 119 Avenue, has been the target of social media complaints that it is racially insensitive. (Black Press Media)
Halloween gallows display by B.C. family slammed as racially insensitive by social media critics

Refers to medieval times, not Black lynchings, says man responsible

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Hay bales can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Straw bales used for Halloween decor can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society

Langley animal facility said they are always need in of fresh bedding

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Most Read