|Linden Vey in Manchester (photo: S. Babineau)|
Earlier this summer on MayorsManor, Kings prospect Brandon Kozun spoke about the humbling experience of moving from the WHL – where he was big man on campus – to being a rookie in the AHL last year.
Now, fresh off of scoring more points than any other player in all of junior hockey last season – Linden Vey is making that transition. The 6-foot forward posted 46 goals and 70 assists for the Medicine Hat Tigers, more than enough to earn the WHL scoring title.
Then, last night, he turned the page. In his sixth game as a professional, he picked up his first goal as a member of the Manchester Monarchs.
After practice today, we spoke by phone, where he described the memorable moment like this – “It was off a faceoff play in the offensive zone. (David) Meckler got the puck and he threw it in front. I got the puck in the slot and put it upstairs.”
Like most players, he plans on giving the puck to his parents. After all, they were ones driving when he made all those trips to the rink as a youngster.
Even after scoring all those goals last year, this one still meant something to him.
“Any time you score your fist goal in any league it’s always pretty special,” Vey said. “With those first five games, I was hoping I’d get it a little bit earlier because it’s something you’d like to get out of the way early. But, now that I did, it’s kinda nice. Hopefully I can build off that and continue to do the things I’ve been doing and put more pucks in the net.”
Who exactly might be setting up his second goal sounded like a work in progress though.
“Our lines have been all over the place for the first five or six games,” explained Vey when I asked about his current linemates. “It’s tough to say. I’ve been playing with all sorts of guys. It seems like it changes every period, as they’re trying to find chemistry for the guys. But, today at practice it was Kozy (Kozun) and (Rob) Mignardi.”
Coming to the AHL has also brought other changes – something Kozun has tried to help him with.
“He said it’s a lot different league and guys are that much better – quicker, faster and stronger,” said Vey. “One of the biggest things is being consistent, that’s a huge thing actually. And coming into the year, he said it’s the toughest thing – when you’re playing that many games and you’re playing three games in three days, you have to do your best to stay consistent every game and every shift.”
Overall, Vey is embracing the change on the ice and off the ice, as he’s moved from Alberta, Canada to Manchester, New Hampshire.
“One of the things that’s always nice is having something new to strive for,” Vey said, referring to the positive side of things. “When you play in the Western league, or wherever you play, you get comfortable. So, it’s always nice to move on and experience new things, new tasks and new challenges.”
Not all of which are easy either.
“One of the hardest things has been just getting comfortable – feeling out where you’re at,” commented Vey. “When you play in juniors, lots of times you’re the star player, and when you come here there’s lots of guys who are good hockey players. So, I think one of the biggest tasks is just getting into your role and accepting that there’s a lot of great hockey players here. You just have to continue to do what you do and make sure you’re focused on doing whatever you can to excel.”
He went on to say he’s living with known pranksters Ray Kaunisto and Robbie Czarnik. However, he claimed they haven’t done ‘too much’ to him just yet. However, about an hour later, Kaunisto confirmed there’s one in motion right now. So, we’ll have to follow-up and get the details on that story later.
Vey was originally drafted by the Kings in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft. For a listing of the Kings top ten prospects entering this season, click here…or for other related articles, see the links below.