The band is getting back together. With Darryl Sutter revealing on Thursday that the Pearson-Vey-Toffoli line will skate together at even strength and some power play situations for tonight’s preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, it’s time to learn more about the playmaking contributor amongst a group of players that all look to make a jump to the highest level of professional hockey. The only member of the line not to have played a regular season or postseason game in the National Hockey League last season, Vey, 22, tied for fifth in AHL scoring with 67 points (22-45=67) in 74 games last season after engineering an impressive 43-point debut season as a 20-year-old in 2011-12.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft, Vey has been a part of the organization longer than both Tanner Pearson (1st / 2012) and Tyler Toffoli (2nd / 2010). As a skilled center, it will be interesting to see if he will be able to earn regular season minutes on a team with excellent center depth, and tonight’s game at the Pepsi Center should be a very interesting depiction of the group’s ability to translate their AHL success to a strong performance at the NHL level – albeit in the preseason.
Darryl Sutter, on what he has seen from Linden Vey at training camp:
Those three guys I’ve been happy with – Lindy and Tanner and Tyler. It’s what preseason’s for. You know what? It’s what I said. I really don’t want to break those young guys out a game at a time. You want to make sure they all got their opportunity.
Vey, on how training camp practices have been going:
They’re going good. I think it’s what to be expected. The first couple games, obviously, especially the first one, a little bit nervous, but the more games you play, the more you skate with the guys, I think the more comfortable you get.
Vey, on his comfort level with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli:
I think when you play with guys for as long as we have, and especially the year we had, I went into practice, especially the last couple of days, it [made] things a lot easier. You just know where each other are, and know the way each other play. I think for us, we bring different things to the line and we kind of feed off each other, and it makes it a lot easier to play.
Vey, on what he brings to the line:
As a centerman, I think my job is to distribute the puck. I think those two guys know how to score goals, and they’ve done it at every level, so for me, I just try to do the best I can and find them in the right spots, and they’ve been doing a good job so far.
Vey, on when they were first placed together in Manchester:
I think it was about 10 games in. Pears got thrown on our line on the power play, and we clicked. We scored two or three goals that game, and after that, we were together the rest of the year, for the most part, with Ty being up a couple games. It was good the whole year, and we’re looking forward to playing with each other the next game.
Vey, on playing with each other against NHL players:
I think the biggest thing for us is just our tempo. I think when compared from the NHL to the AHL, things happen that much quicker. Guys are just bigger, a lot smarter. You go against guys that have played n the league for six, seven, eight years, and they’re always in the right spot. For us, it’s just like I said. Just making sure to get our tempo up and make sure to take care of our own end before we go on offense.
Vey, on his impression from the game against Anaheim on Tuesday night:
I thought it was good. I thought, obviously we played a lot better as a team. The first game we had in LA, we took so many penalties, and any time you’re in the box, it’s tough to get anything going offensively. The last game, obviously, I still thought we were on the power play a lot more, and you can see that we generated a lot more offensively.
Vey, on whether his line has discussed reuniting in the NHL:
A little bit, I think. Obviously that’s your goal. You want to be here, and for us, I think the chemistry we do have, it’d be great to one day maybe be a line up here. But right now you’re just trying to hopefully make the squad, one-by-one. But we’re just taking day-by-day, and we’re looking forward to the next game. [Reporter: Every man for himself?] Yeah, I guess so. I guess it is. But obviously it’s great. We get along so well, and we play together. It’s been good the last year or so.
Vey, on who he has been rooming with:
Robbie Czarnik. [Reporter: Is he turning you into a Michigan fan at all?] A little bit. He’s pretty hard Michigan. It’s tough not to cheer from them, I guess, when your roommate’s like that.