Fringe Canucks players have a lot on the line in final games

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks Emerson Etem (left) and Linden Vey, here in action against the Ottawa Senators, haven’t managed to rekindle the magic they had together as junior linemates with the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Gerry Kahrmann, PNG files)
 

Vancouver Canucks Emerson Etem (left) and Linden Vey, here in action against the Ottawa Senators, haven’t managed to rekindle the magic they had together as junior linemates with the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Gerry Kahrmann, PNG files)

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

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VANCOUVER — As a team, the Vancouver Canucks don’t have much to play for besides pride.

But several of the team’s players have much more on the line. Some are playing for their future with the Canucks or in the National Hockey League.

Players like Linden Vey and Emerson Etem, for example. Both will be restricted free agents this summer and the Canucks must decide whether to make qualifying offers or set them free.

Coach Willie Desjardins said Monday the team’s final seven games are hugely important for players such as Vey and Etem as well as others like Markus Granlund, another pending RFA.

“I think everyone is playing for a spot, trying to prove they can come back here or find a spot someplace else,” Desjardins said. “I think all the games are important and everybody, I think, they have to approach it like they want to leave their mark.”

Etem, who has brought speed but not much in the way of a bottom line to the Canucks since being acquired in an early January trade with the New York Rangers, helped himself Sunday with two assists in Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

The hope was he and Vey could rekindle some of their junior magic when they played together and put up huge numbers with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. But that hasn’t happened and Desjardins split them up Sunday.

“I thought he (Etem) made a good play on the second goal,” Desjardins said. “He drove wide and threw it across, which was a good play because he moved his feet and got it out of the zone.

“And I thought on the first goal, Vey made a good pass out to Burr (Alex Burrows). Both guys have had lots of opportunities and just haven’t capitalized. I think especially for Vey, I think he has made plays and nobody has finished and that’s tough when you are making plays.”

Granlund, acquired in late February from the Calgary Flames, is expected to return Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks after missing seven games with an upper-body injury.

“For us young guys, this is a big opportunity to play a lot and show what we’ve got,” Granlund said.

WOE CANADA: The Canucks have lots of Canadian company when it comes to not making the playoffs. For the first time since 1970, there doesn’t figure to be a Canadian team in the NHL playoffs.

“It is too bad, hockey is in our blood in Canada and everyone lives for the playoffs and not to have any Canadian teams will probably be a little bit hard on the country,” said defenceman Dan Hamhuis.

“It’s really disappointing and I think it is tough for all the teams,” added Desjardins. “As a country we just take so much pride in our hockey and it’s hard to believe in some ways that one of the teams wouldn’t get in. I know all the teams had their own struggles and different things they were going through, but for sure, it is hard for us as a country.”

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks Emerson Etem (left) and Linden Vey, here in action against the Ottawa Senators, haven’t managed to rekindle the magic they had together as junior linemates with the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Gerry Kahrmann, PNG files)
 

Vancouver Canucks Emerson Etem (left) and Linden Vey, here in action against the Ottawa Senators, haven’t managed to rekindle the magic they had together as junior linemates with the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Gerry Kahrmann, PNG files)

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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