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Canucks Player Autopsy: Linden Vey

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Vey's first NHL season wasn't one for the ages, but does he have what it takes improve upon that in his second?

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Who is this guy?

Position: C/RW

Shoots: Right

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 189

Born: July 17, 1991

Linden Vey was one of the new regime's first acquisitions, as they essentially swapped him for Jason Garrison. Vey, originally a 4th round pick in 2009 by the LA Kings, had a very successful career up to this point in the AHL, but stuck in the Kings system whose NHL squad is among the most talented in the league, he had very limited exposure to the NHL.

What did he do?

Vey put up 24 points in 75 games in his rookie season, which tied him for 15th best among the league's first-year skaters. Ostensibly, these numbers aren't bad, but when you factor in the conditions of his season, like his seemingly undeserved powerplay minutes and the periods of the season where he played while better options were scratched, Vey's season seems rather unsubstantial.

People constantly defend his poor play by arguing that he is still young and has room for improvement, but Vey will be 24 by the beginning of next season, and has already played more seasons in the AHL than most prospects who finally make the big league. While writing off Vey now would be premature, his next season (a contract year) while play a large part in determining his future.

What did we like?

By all accounts, Vey seems like a really nice guy off the ice, which is a trait that we know the new management team values. Quiet and humble in his relatively rare media appearances, Vey seemed to mesh well with his new teammates and organization. He played for the Medicine Hat Tigers, so we know Willie loves him.

Now, being nice doesn't win hockey games, but statistically, Vey's season wasn't very good. I'm grasping at straws here. His first NHL goal was rather nice, but that's more a credit to Daniel Sedin's playmaking skills than anything else.

What didn't we like?

Quite a lot, actually.

When 5v5, Vey produced only four goals and 14 points, while being a negative possession player and bad at faceoffs. Vey ranked among the worst Canucks forwards in most percentage based statistics, including Corsi%, Fenwick%, Scoring Chance%, Shots For% and Goals For%. The only forward to consistently rank lower than Vey in these statistics was Derek Dorsett, a perennial fourth-liner whose advanced stats are compensated by his "intangibles".

Vey was touted as an offensive prospect who made up for what he lacks in size with skill and finesse, but he failed to translate the elements that made his AHL career so successful to the NHL. The knock on Vey was that he was too weak, constantly getting pushed off the puck by stronger defensemen, and his skill, speed and agility (what smaller players rely on to make an impact in the NHL) isn't good enough to escape checks and create plays. If Vey's NHL career is going to continue past the next few years, he is going to need to bulk up significantly and hope he finds a role the Vancouver's middle six.

So what now?

Vey will almost certainly return to the Canucks to start next season as he is waiver eligible, but with him needing a new contract next summer his next season will be something of a "put up or shut up" year. The Canucks now have more forward prospects than they have in recent years, so guaranteeing a spot in the coming years is going to be difficult. Vey's next season is going to have be significantly better than his first if he wants to earn another contract in 2016, but with a good off-season and guidance by the Canucks' fitness staff, there is no reason to presume Vey is incapable becoming a consistent NHL player.

Season Grade: C-