If there’s a mystery man on the Canucks fornext season, it’s Linden Vey. The Canucks acquired Vey from the Los AngelesKings for the 50th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and hasa large question mark looming over him as the offseason looms on. With theagreement on a 1-year contract, Linden Vey will be a part of the Canucksorganization this season, it’s just a matter of where he’ll play that leavesCanucks fans and media wondering.
The 23-year-old was drafted in the fourthround of the 2009 draft by the LA Kings, after tearing up the WHL with theMedicine Hat Tigers, Vey took his talents to the AHL and the ManchesterMonarchs, where he’s spent three seasons. Due to the Kings’ overload of talentat center, Vey only has an NHL sample size of 18 games, where he’s yet to pot agoal and has recorded five assists in his short NHL stint. Vey’s speed, visionand puck handling skills are what stand out in his game, and he can hopefullybring that to the Canucks’ line-up next season.
With such a small sample size, it’s hard topredict what Vey’s role on the club will be for next season. Considering Vey’ssize, it’s hard to see him playing anything lower than the third line, as thefourth line will be saved for energy players such as Shawn Matthias, Derek Dorsettand Tom Sestito. With Nick Bonino coming into the system, Vey could bepotentially battling Bonino for the second line center role, which soundsalarming when you consider the Canucks had Ryan Kesler as their second linecenter last season.
Vey’s role also depends on how much youthis implemented in the lineup. If Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce are given a shotat the NHL level to start the season, it makes for a crowded bunch contendingfor three spots at center, which could leave Vey on the outside looking in.Although Gaunce has a very miniscule shot at the pro club this season, BoHorvat is expected to be given at least nine games with the Canucks to provehe’s NHL ready, which could leave Vey out of the line-up if that’s the pathDesjardins and Benning want to go.
Vey’s role also depends on what managementviews Vey as. Since he’s only played 18 NHL games, he could still be considereda prospect, rather than an NHL-ready young gun. Vey has three seasons of AHLexperience, does Jim Benning assign Vey for yet another season in the minors?It’s definitely a possibility, but with the loss of Kesler as the number twocenter, the Canucks are in desperate need of skill up the middle, which Veybrings to the table.
Linden Vey brings a lot to the table offensively,and will contend for a spot on the Canucks roster next year for sure. However,Nick Bonino is going to be given the role as the second line center headinginto next season, leaving Vey to battle with Shawn Matthias, Brad Richardsonand Bo Horvat for the third line center spot on the team. If Matthias iswilling to play wing, Vey has a decent shot at being the third line center forthe majority of the season with Bo Horvat being the go-to call up if someonegets injured. However, Jim Benning and company may have something else in mindfor both Vey and the rest of the roster.