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.”
It was just two days into free agency when Martin St. Louis announced his retirement from professional hockey — and it turns out there were some suitors for his services during that 48-hour window.
“I knew there were teams interested,” St. Louis said on Monday, while meeting the media to formally call it a career. “I can sit here and be proud that my last year I scored 21 goals and the year before I scored 30, so do I think I can still play? Yeah.
“But it’s time to move on and do something else.”
It’s unclear which teams were interested in the 40-year-old Rangers winger, but it’s easy to see why some would be. Despite a “down” campaign offensively, St. Louis still scored more goals than Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Marleau and Bobby Ryan; it’s also possible a team would’ve looked to him as a mentor for some of its younger prospects, especially given St. Louis’ renowned physical fitness (I mean come on, look at those trunks.)
Geography, though, probably limited potential suitors, as part of St. Louis’ earlier move from Tampa Bay to New York was so he could be closer to his family. In fact, spending more time with his wife and children was something he referenced in explaining his decision to walk away from the game.
“My whole family has been so supportive of me and it’s been all about me a lot,” St. Louis said. “Now it’s time for it to be about someone other than me. My wife will be happy to have another full-time parent alongside her.
“The focus is on my kids, and I am excited about that.”
Related: Curtains on Broadway: Martin St. Louis calls it a career
With three years left on their contracts, and with a management group that wants its prospects to develop in a “winning environment” surrounded by good veteran role models, the Sedin twins are in no imminent danger of being traded by the Vancouver Canucks.
But that didn’t stop Swedish newspaper Expressen from asking the 34-year-old brothers about the possibility.
Predictably, the twins said they had no intention of finishing their careers with any other team. Even if it meant a better chance at winning a Stanley Cup.
At the same time, they didn’t outright say they wouldn’t waive their no-movement clauses should the Canucks ever ask them to. Like, say, in the final year of their deals (2017-18).
For now, the fact the twins were even asked about such a scenario may be the main takeaway here. If the Canucks miss the playoffs next season, or if they make them and lose again in the first round, expect the calls for a more drastic rebuild to grow even louder in Vancouver.
Daniel Sedin had 76 points last season. His brother, Henrik, had 73. They each have a $7 million cap hit.