The Los Angeles Kings have made their first two signings in advance of the upcoming deadline. Yesterday, the Kings locked up prospects Linden Vey and Jean-Francois Berube for the next three years. They both signed the expected three-year entry level contracts, and will be Kings property for a while moving forward.
It’s a good move in my estimation, as both Vey and Berube have some potential to be role players at the NHL level. Linden Vey was selected in the 4th round of the 2009 draft, but showed the kind of offensive potential that might have had him be drafted earlier if he had shown it prior to the draft. Last season the 19 year old led the WHL in scoring with 46 goals and 70 assists (116 points) in only 69 games. It’s an impressive total, and he helped lead his Medicine Hat Tigers to the Eastern Conference Finals of the WHL. He stepped up his game in the playoffs as well with an impressive 12 goals and 13 assists in only 15 games.
Along with Vey, the Kings locked up Jean-Francois Berube. Berube was drafted in the same 4th round in the 2009 draft as Vey, and has had a similarly solid season this year playing with the Montreal Juniors of the QMJHL. Berube went 32-7-8 in 50 games, and posted a respectable 2.60 GAA, a relatively good number in the high-scoring QMJHL. Berube also showcased a .902 save percentage, and posted three shutouts. His GAA was good enough for 4th in the league, and after completing his season in Montreal, Berube got in on a handful of games in Manchester. It was a good season for Berube, though he’s likely to remain a backup and depth player for the goaltender-heavy Kings system.
In all, the signings seem to be good decisions. Neither are expensive players, and both have something to contribute. If I was predicting, I’d be more likely to see Vey sooner rather than later, especially if he can harness his scoring potential into something at the NHL level, and Berube will likely fail to make the NHL. Regardless, both have the opportunity to make something of these contracts, and it will be enjoyable to watch them make their way in the ultra-competitive world of professional hockey.