CALGARY, AB -- Looking back, Linden Vey was less than pleased with his performance at Calgary Flames training camp in September.
Armed with a one-year, two-way contract heading into the season, the winger had his sights set on earning a full-time gig with the Flames right off the hop. But he was unable to gain any traction throughout camp and the pre-season, eventually being assigned to the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League.
"I didn't create a whole lot. As an offensive player, you have to contribute. Not only just scoring but you've got to create momentum for your team. I didn't do that a whole lot in the pre-season.
"I went down to Stockton and got things going a little bit and got some confidence."
Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan knew the Wakaw, SK product had more to give than what he showed in training camp. When he was assigned to Stockton, he and Vey discussed what he needed to do to get back to the level of play he was capable of.
Since then, he has scored three goals and nine points in eight skates with eight of those points coming in his last four games.
Video: Vey on his first game with Flames tonight
With Kris Versteeg (groin), Lance Bouma (upper body) and Matthew Tkachuk (hand) out with injuries, the door opened for a Stockton forward to come to Calgary and with his recent strong play, Vey was the perfect candidate.
"He was disappointed in himself when we sent him down. The first four games down there, I think he was getting his feet wet but the last four, he's been really good. It's a good opportunity for him," Gulutzan said.
"He's going to play with Freddie and Staj. They need to be good. My message was, 'You need to be good.' We've got to win draws and do the little things - the stuff he was disappointed in. Now he's getting a chance to come in and play."
Having a history with Gulutzan has given Vey a sense of comfort heading into his first game with the Flames but he knows he can't lose that sense of urgency if he wants to remain with the team.
"It makes the adjustment a little bit easier, knowing what he expects and the system and the way he plays, the style of play," Vey stated. "But it's the same thing as any other organization. You've got to come up and do your job and make sure to make an impact out there."
"It's obviously good to be up here and I'm excited to get the opportunity."