The Kings’ future was on display Thursday.
Some might wonder why it took the club’s management and coaching staff so long, but forward Linden Vey made his NHL debut in the Kings’ 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Vey and forward Tyler Toffoli played in the same game for the first time in the NHL after teaming on a very productive line in the minor leagues.
Vey played a modest 11 minutes, 28 seconds against the Sabres. He didn’t record a goal or an assist or a shot on goal in his 12 shifts, but he joined the Kings’ power-play and penalty-killing units in what the team hopes will be the start of something big. After all, Vey wasn’t recalled from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League to play only a few scattered minutes or to sit in the press box, eating popcorn and watching his older, more experienced and more accomplished teammates play.
It remains to be seen if Vey sticks with the Kings. It would appear Toffoli, who assisted on the first of two power-play goals Thursday against the Sabres for his sixth career NHL point, could be here to stay. After all, Toffoli made his debut last season and even played a regular shift during the playoffs.
Vey admitted to a case of the butterflies before and during his first game.
“The first shift was a little tough I think,” Vey said. “You get on the ice and you realize you’re finally playing your first game. AS the game went on, I felt a little more comfortable. I’m glad to get the first one in and, hopefully, there’s more to come.”
Of his play, the Wakaw, Saskatchewan, native said, “I think it was all right. I think you have to take it day-by-day. … I was excited. The first thing you do is call the parents and let them know. They were excited. Obviously, they couldn’t come down (from Canada) and watch, but they were able to watch on TV.”
Vey was the Kings’ fourth-round draft pick in 2009 (96th overall).