While 10 goals and 14 assists aren’t exactly terrible numbers for a rookie, Linden Vey knows that his first season with the Vancouver Canucks did not match expectations.
Though he started relatively well, registering 12 points in his first 22 games, his production fell off dramatically. In the end, he was a healthy scratch for five of Vancouver’s six playoff games, and it was fair to question whether he could play center in the NHL.
“Sitting out (in the playoffs), I already had a lot of time to look at where things went wrong,” Vey told TSN.ca. “I was really honest. My preparation last summer wasn’t what it needed to be.”
Vey, who just turned 24, was acquired last summer in a trade with the Kings. He was essentially gifted a spot on Vancouver’s roster, despite having skated in only 18 NHL games up to that point.
Vey should once again be given a chance to play regularly in 2015-16. While centers Henrik Sedin, Nick Bonino, and Bo Horvat remain in Vancouver, the options beyond those three are limited, as the Canucks don’t have Brad Richardson or Shawn Matthias anymore.
“I’ve already worked the hardest I ever have in a summer,” Vey said. “In every league I’ve played in, I made a big jump in my second season. … Last season, I wasn’t the same player that got me to the NHL.”
Anthony Duclair’s making a solid impression on his new team.
Duclair, acquired by Arizona from the Rangers in the Keith Yandle trade, took part in the Coyotes’ prospect development camp this week and earned high praise from head coach Dave Tippett.
“Some of the plays he makes out there are outstanding,” Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s a young player that he’ll still have to learn how to play without the puck, some coverage things, but his assets of skating and quickness and skill all are very high priority for us.”
Duclair, who turns 20 in August, figures to be on Arizona’s opening-night roster this season. He’s got NHL experience — seven points in 18 games with the Rangers last year — and is an integral part of the Coyotes’ youth movement.
What’s more, Duclair doesn’t have a ton of competition.
Though they made some moves at forward in free agency — bringing aboard (or, re-board) the likes of Antoine Vermette, Boyd Gordon, Steve Downie and Brad Richardson — the Coyotes are still pretty thin up front, especially on the wings. A left-handed shot that can play the right, Duclair’s in a battle with fellow youngsters Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Szwarz, Lucas Lessio, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak for minutes with the big club.
It’s a battle he’s ready to take on.
“They’re pushing younger, so what better scenario for me,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky to be here.”
Imagine trying to convince a free agent to sign with the Arizona Coyotes.
Not only did the Coyotes finish with the second-worst record in the NHL last season, their future in Glendale remains murky at best.
So, how does GM Don Maloney make his pitch?
“You’re honest with them,” he said, per azcentral. “You basically say, ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a great place to play and we have great fans and a great stadium.’ Things seem to have a way of working themselves out, so we try to downplay it as much as we can.”
The Coyotes did recently convince Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek, Steve Downie, Brad Richardson, and Anders Lindback to sign with them. They’re still reportedly looking for a puck-moving defenseman.
Related: Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal