With forward Henrik Sedin out, the Vancouver Canucks are running short on offensive options.
Brandon Sutter is out injured already, and now Sedin could be missing for a chunk of time. The Canucks have dropped from a playoff spot to sixth in the Pacific Division, and they’ve gone 2-6-2 in their last ten games – the worst record over that period in not only their division, but the NHL at large.
That calls for desperate measures, so the Canucks are doing desperate things: on Friday morning, just ahead of the roster freeze, the club recalled Linden Vey.
Drafted 96th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, Vey was dealt to the Canucks for a second round pick in the summer of 2014.
The 6 foot even, 200 lbs right shot has since appeared in 75 regular season NHL games with Vancouver, recording 10 goals and 24 points in that time frame. He was reassigned to the AHL’s Utica Comets this season following a one year re-signing by the club just ahead of the free agency period, though, which made his ‘put up or shut up’ contract look like a placeholder for something better to come in Vancouver’s mind.
Over 26 AHL games this season, the right winger has put up three goals and 15 points with Utica. That’s good for a tie for second on the team in scoring, matching Alex Grenier and falling just behind wunderkind Hunter Shinkaruk (who boasts 19 points and counting on the year).
Why Call Up Vey?
If you’re the Canucks, you have two options: recall a middle-tier scorer like Vey or Brendan Guance, or bring up Shinkaruk.
With 19 points in 20 games, it seems like Shinkaruk is a smarter option for a team that needs to start winning again (and fast). Vey is producing, but he isn’t finding the back of the net prolifically at the AHL level – that doesn’t suggest that he’ll be an adequate tourniquet for the bleeding sustained by Vancouver with two significant offensive injuries.
What that doesn’t take into consideration, though, is the possibility that Henrik Sedin is healthy to play again before the roster freeze is lifted. With a player like Shinkaruk, there would have to be a commitment to keeping him at the NHL level and in the lineup for his entire tenure during the call-up, and that’s not a guarantee during a roster freeze.
Besides, this gives Vey that last-ditch chance he very much needs in order to hopefully stick with Vancouver in the long run. The team very badly needs a hero right now, and any offense produced by the sophomore skater at the NHL level will be looked upon favorably by the club when it comes to re-signing him this summer.
Vey : “It was tough getting sent down but I had things to work on, your a hockey player and you suck it up.” #Canucks
— NEWS 1130 Sports (@NEWS1130Sports) December 18, 2015
The Canucks play their next game this evening, when they take on the Atlantic Division’s Detroit Red Wings.