Vancouver Canucks 2015/16 Season Preview: X-Factor #1 Linden Vey


Going into the 2015-16 NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks are surrounded with questions. Veterans with expiring contracts. Rookies looking to make the jump. New guys in the locker room from questionable trades. Number One goaltender coming back from a major injury. In a year already looking gloom with the moves their division rivals have made – McDavid, Lucic, Hamilton, the list goes on and on – will sophomore coach Willie Desjardins be able to salvage 100 points over the next 82 games as GM Jim Benning expects?

As the Canucks make their way through pre-season, we will dive into key story-lines going into the 2015-16 season as a mean to get ourselves ready for the puck to drop on opening night.

In this first edition of Canucks 2015-16 season preview, we will look at Linden Vey, the first of the “X-Factors” I hand-picked for the upcoming season.
X-Factor #5 Linden Vey – 75GP 10G 24pts 18PIM

Coming off a season he himself described as his career worst, Vey is almost certain to play the 4th line pivot role between Prust and Dorsett, two hardworking grinders. Perhaps he will be penciled in on the PP unit, but he will have competition with the likes of Baertschi and Horvat.

The reason Linden Vey has worked so hard over the summer is the rising of many centers in the Canucks prospect pipeline. McCann and Cassels lead the charge up the middle, who have already bumped Gaunce off to the left wing. With Horvat and newcomer Sutter as the centerpieces of the rebuild, Vey can only dwell in the 4th line role if he were to stay in the middle.

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The addition of Sutter and Horvat also means something else. The organization is going to drift away from the defensively-underrated Vey if he cannot win face-offs. The development of strong 2-way centers has been the key for the Canucks, as evidenced by Cassels and McCann. They all play with an edge and are superb defensively. Sutter is a treat to have in the FO% department, and there were rumors of a Lars Eller acquisition, which would mean another beast in the faceoff circle Linden Vey will have to be weary of.

It is inevitable that Vey will have to play the wing when Cassels and McCann are NHL-ready. And for that reason, upon strengthening his defensive game, he will need to up his goal scoring if he wants to at least play as a winger going forward. If not, we will have wasted a perfectly-fine Jason Garrison (who fetched a 2nd round pick that was later flipped for Vey).

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The chemistry with Dorsett and Prust will be important, too. Prust’s play-driving ability is often overlooked. He was one of the best playoff performers for Montreal, and if he and Dorsett can get chances for Vey, Vey will have all the makings of hitting a 30+ point season. I can imagine that we will be hearing a lot of play-calls that go from Dorsett on the forecheck, Prust stealing from the corner and holding defenders off, and Vey finishing it off with one-timers and quick goal-mouth snappers.

Vey is still young at 24, though 5 years older than McCann. However, the standard of youth is changing in today’s NHL. Skaters now reach their primes as 23-year-olds, not as 26-year-old as EA Sports likes to categorize. If Vey wants to stay a serviceable regular in the Canucks lineup, he will need to prove his worth in any way he can.

My prediction for Vey for the 2015-16 season: 18 Goals, 12 Assists provided he gets time on the PP.

Next: The Young Stars Classic: Rising and Falling Stars

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