Calgary Flames sign Linden Vey

Just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean the Flames are taking time off. Not the front office, that’s for sure – as they’re reportedly signed Linden Vey.

He’s coming off of a one-year, one-way deal worth $1 million. We’ll update this space as soon as we know what his new cap hit is. [UPDATE: According to General Fanager, Vey’s contract carries a cap hit of $700k at the NHL level.]

Vey was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round in the 2009 NHL Draft. After a couple of years in the Kings’ minors, plus 18 games of NHL debut, the Canucks traded a 2014 second round pick for him.

Since joining Vancouver, Vey has mostly played in the NHL, although did spend 26 games in the AHL this past season. He scored four goals and 15 points through 41 games with the Canucks in 2015-16, but was not qualified, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Calgary could be the fresh start Vey needs. The 6’0, 200 lb. right-shot turns 25 on July 17, so he’s still young – and considering the awful off-ice issues surrounding his life the past few years, he may not even have had the chance to show his true talent.

What we already see with Vey may be what we get. But considering how his father hatched a plan to kill his mother back in 2013 – that we know of – Vey’s entire NHL career to date has had this hanging over him. There’s playing through pain or a physical ailment, and then there’s your dad was trying to kill your mom and was on trial for it.

So if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt for what he can do on the ice, it’s him. 

And besides, this is a no-risk deal. Vey’s two-way deal is only meaningful in the sense that he’ll receive a different salary in the NHL vs. the AHL, but it does hint that his spot may not be guaranteed.

With that said, let’s get into the numbers.

Vey with the Canucks

The Canucks didn’t have a good season. We, uh, kind of knew that. So keep in mind that this was a player on a bad team, for what it’s worth. And while Vey only managed 15 points through half the season, he was 14th on team scoring – but if we extrapolate to 82 games, that’s a 30-point season for him, which would have seen him eighth in Canucks scoring. 

And he wasn’t exactly put in ideal position to score when he was in Vancouver. Via Corsica:

linden vey vancouver usage

Vey had a 5v5 CF of 44.74%, which was the fourth worst of all Canucks players to play at least half the season. He started 33.49% of his shifts in the offensive zone, which was only 13th worst out of all Canucks players with half the season played; however, it’s not like any of them fared particularly well buried that far back.

The Canucks’ top defence pairing of Alex Edler and especially Chris Tanev held their own, and Bo Horvat did a commendable job, but other than them, it’s kind of a mish-mash of mediocrity. Vey fared a bit worse than some others, possession-wise – but hey, in that cluster of red right by him is Markus Granlund, and it looks like Vey was at least marginally better.

Vey vs. Jooris

Looking at Vey is all well and good, but what about Josh Jooris? The Flames didn’t qualify him, but were reportedly still negotiating with him, and he and Vey have a lot in common.

They’re both right shots. They both have some decent size to them; Jooris is a little taller and a little lighter. They both have career highs of 24 points in the NHL. They’ve both played about the same amount over their rookie and sophomore seasons: 116 games for Vey, 119 for Jooris. They both scored four goals this past season.

The differences? Vey had double Jooris’ shooting percentage. Jooris is year older. He went the college route, so he’s spent less time in professional hockey. He only averaged 12:17 a game this past season, whereas Vey got 15:45.

His underlyings also paint a much, much prettier picture. Over the past two seasons:

vey vs jooris

Jooris is the little blue circle up top. He’s played in much more difficult circumstances over the pair’s first two seasons, with harder zone starts and facing tougher competition. Granted, he has played less over that time as well – but it still stands, if you’re looking at depth players, there’s a good case to make that Jooris could be the better bet over Vey.

There’s nothing saying they can’t sign both, though. And maybe Vey would benefit with more sheltered starts (there’s some history of this in his short career thus far), and a new change of scenery.