Vancouver Canucks F Linden Vey means Frustration

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What will the Vancouver Canucks do with Forward Linden Vey? Read on if you are ready to be frustrated by the latest Canuck call-up.

Linden Vey won the Vancouver Canucks a tough game against the Detroit Red Wings this past Friday. Ever recall Chris Higgins winning a game for the Canucks? So, let’s trade Higgins to make room for Linden Vey, right? A decent return — maybe a third round draft pick and next year’s seventh?

Well, not so soon. At least not for a handful of days. All kidding aside, the Holiday roster freeze has started, and will continue until the dawn of December 29th. The Canucks play just three more games in that span, where no players are allowed to be moved. To clarify, only call-ups are allowed, while trades and waivers are shut down for this season. This is also the reason why Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann had to have their fates decided before December 19th, on whether they will head to the World Juniors or not.

Here is the Official CBA on the Holiday Freeze:

"16.5 Holiday Roster Freeze.(i) For all Players on an NHL Active Roster, Injured Reserve, or Players with Non-Roster and Injured Non-Roster status as of 11:59 p.m. local time on December 19, a roster freeze shall apply through 12:01 a.m. local time December 28, with respect to Waivers, Trades and Loans; provided, however, that Players may be Recalled to NHL Clubs during this period…"

Essentially, the Canucks have forced themselves to have Linden Vey up with the NHL club for at least five games — including the 4-3 SO win over Detroit in which Vey scored the shootout winner. And by that same logic, Chris Higgins — or anyone else for that matter — is frozen onto the NHL roster until the 29th.

But when that is over, and the Canucks have captain Henrik Sedin back, we have a decision to be made. Here is this Sunday’s edition of “The Canucklehead Lament”.

What to do with Linden Vey

Vey has five games to make a statement for himself, and he started on the right foot with his performance against the Red Wings. If you look at his stats over that single game, in just over 11 minutes of ice time, Vey took a majority of his faceoffs in the attacking zone, only winning a third of them. He only managed a single shot on net during regulation, which is not expected from a call-up centreman who should be eager to stick with the team.

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  • But his Corsi was above average. As the team averaged a 62.3 Corsi-for percentage, Vey was 10 percent above team average, at 72.2 percent. Say all you want about how skewed the shot clock was that game — Linden Vey did not have a bad game by any means.

    But regardless of how well or how poorly Vey does, he is getting sent down to the AHL, bumping a forward off the NHL roster, or getting traded.

    Firstly, there is always a chance Vey gets claimed. Though the Canucks snuck him down earlier in the season, if a team is desperate for some help down the middle, they could consider Vey. We saw that happen with Jarret Stoll, who was claimed by the Minnesota Wild. Some NHL teams are still hungry for depth down the middle.

    Stoll is actually a cheaper option than Vey, and of course, Stoll is a well-known player in the league. But it also reminded us that players are not always safe through the waivers. Especially a young offensive weapon like Vey would interest NHL GMs, even more so if he plays well. Remember Frank Corrado? Corrado got claimed off waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs and has played two games this season, averaging just over 10 minutes of ice time.

    Anyhow, Linden Vey has a legitimate chance of being lost through waivers. The better he plays, the more interest he will garner. And it feels horrible to lose an asset via waivers, even worse after what happened with Corrado.

    So then, if he plays tremendously down the stretch, why not keep him around as part of the “youth rebuild”?

    Related: Comets Week in Review: Vey, Friesen Ready for NHL

    That is not an ideal case for Vancouver. Vey has an expiring contract, and he could potentially be lost in free agency, if he plays well down the stretch. With Bo Horvat, Jared McCann, and Adam Cracknell in the mix — and Brendan Gaunce likely jumping up to the NHL — there is simply no room for Vey. Of course, there is Alex Friesen finding favours with Jim Benning, alongside long-hailed McDavid-slayer Cole Cassels.

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    Of course, he could play winger. But no, he shouldn’t play fourth-line wings, we know how that played out last year. So he fits in the 3rd line? Do you want Vey to play on the same line as McCann? Ask yourself. Who do we trade out, then? Chris Higgins, Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, or Radim Vrbata? We know that Vrbata is staying, as he is back scoring and mentoring McCann. Swapping Vey for Higgins, Burrows, or Hansen would be a massive blow to the Canucks’ defensive play.

    Basically, if you keep Vey and trade out a veteran to make room for a him, you are inching ever so close to that Auston Matthews pick.

    Last point on why Vey just cannot stick with the team: do we not want to play our young assets in winning environments? The Utica Comets were doing just fine the last time I checked. And the last time I checked, the Canucks were losing night after night.

    Then do we trade him? Not so quick.

    Vey has not made himself a fan favourite, nor has he produced on a consistent basis for the Canucks. Perfect condition to trade him for a third and a seventh round pick, right? No. Vey’s worth coming in was a second-round pick, or Jason Garrison — whichever you prefer. By trading Vey straight up for anything lower than a second-ound pick, Benning would be proving himself an incapable NHL GM. If Vey is moving out, he will be a ‘sweetening touch’ on a deal, and not the main asset moving.

    And of course, by moving Vey out, Benning would face criticism that his “rebuild” is being inconsistent, by shipping out young assets like Vey.

    Next: The Canuck Case for Tyson Barrie

    So what is your say in this Vey matter? Lose him to free agency? Risk waivers? Trade him and face criticism (or feel bad)? Or just let him play, trade out a veteran you were bound to trade, and hope the team does not plummet any more than it already has. Make your call, Canucks fans. It won’t be pretty. That was this Sunday’s edition of The Canucklehead Lament.