Thought #3: Too Many Reasons to be Playing Urgent Hockey
And with those two Europeans set to cause more roster space issues, the skaters have got to be worried about their jobs. Let’s take it step by step. Enter Linden Vey, the oldest one on this list.
Linden Vey is a mixed bag for Jim Benning. He has improved from last year. With 14 points in 38 games, he has eclipsed last year’s rate od production of 24 points in 75 games. Despite starting 53.2 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone, he has managed to better his Fenwick stats, which account for all unblocked shots.
Troubling, though, is his plus-minus. After going a minus-three last year in 75 games, Vey is a minus-15 this year, having played just half as many games as he did last year. Sure, nobody is going to be a plus the way the Canucks have played in the second half, but nearing 25, Vey is running out of excuses.
Maybe the fact that he hit Jim Benning’s Garage Seven list should suffice as the sole reason for concern. But Vey is just one, though.
Markus Granlund should get another look after running into injury problems early in his career as a Canuck, one in which he has two points in nine games. That translates to 18 points in a full 82-game season. Should Granlund return from his injury, he will want to up that total to make sure he gets a raise. He is likely to stay, but at what cost and what place in the lineup?
Emerson Etem also falls into this category. I must admit that Etem is playing harder than some others haven been. But with just five points in 31 games, he is set to produce just 15 points in a full season. He is not a scorer, but he was traded for one. He will need to prove himself in the remaining eight games so he has a better chance to earn a contract after the one-year “prove it” contract he likely receives this summer.
These are just a few of the players who should be playing real urgent hockey for the sake of their contracts. Will we see that urgency in the remaining 14 days of the season?
Next: Thought #4: What to do with Chris Higgins?