Have you checked for ambrosia beetle holes/damage? They are attracted to freeze damaged trees.
Making heading cuts to thick branches will increase growth on the buds that grow from them, but also make the crop much later and decrease cold hardiness since growth will continue later into the season. It is recommended to not remove more than 30% of branches at once on mature trees, my assumption is that is to avoid excess vigor (and lack of fruit production, as is the case with Celeste) but it you remove branches completely ie. make thinning cuts to improve structure and remove damaged growths that should not spur as much growth.
Young trees should be protected for as long as possible. If they have soft green growth it will be vulnerable to hard frost, so have a plan to cover them temporarily as well. It might be better to keep the VdB in a container this winter if you have someplace like an unheated garage where it will stay dormant to plant out in March.