August 15th is not just Jimmy Vesey Day

July 20, 2016, by
Jimmy Vesey (Harvard - 19)


Our New York Rangers have recently signed Josh Jooris to a one-year deal, which is just one in a series of signings to revamp our bottom-six. While being a hard working player with nice hands in the NHL, Jooris was also an extremely popular player during his time with Providence College. The NCAA has become a great producer of prospects for NHL teams, most notably for the Rangers, who have a plethora of talent that went through the NCAA.

One snag that has been bothering a few GMs is the fact that a drafted player can sign with any team, not just the team that drafted him, after spending four years in college. Once again, the NYR are a beneficiary of that rule with the not lazy but super talented center Kevin Hayes. This year’s prize on August 15th is Jimmy Vesey, a former 3rd rounder of the Nashville Predators who seems poised to be a quality goal scorer.

While it would be grand for him to join the Rangers, rumor has it that they are not on his short list, which includes Boston, Buffalo, Toronto, and the Cretins across the river. Even with the chances of landing him appearing to be slim, the Rangers have had a nice summer, adding talent to the prospect pool in Hartford. A successful Wolf Pack team is an added bonus for prospect development, and the Rangers have plenty of contract slots available to make the Pack into a competitive team.

The extra contract slots –as well as the peculiar prospect development camp roster that only had seven defensemen– makes me feel that they are looking in Europe or the NCAA to add to the prospect pool. This comes back to Jimmy Vesey. Vesey isn’t the only NCAA player seemingly poised to become a free agent on August 15th,, and I can’t help but feel that the Rangers will look at other lower profile players. A good friend of mine by the twitter handle @Baskincase helped make a list of the players, I suggest you guys and gals give him a follow as he is one of my most trusted source of info and scouting regarding the NCAA.

Ben Gallacher , D (24 years old by October) – Gallacher played for UMass-Amherst and is a former Florida Panther draft pick. The left handed defenseman isn’t really a top choice because it doesn’t look like he improved over the last few seasons in the NCAA. Gallacher is a defenseman that can move the puck somewhat well but really plays a gritty, board working game. The issue with that is at 5’11, 192 lbs, and with poor statistical showing it may not be worth giving an NHL deal. Florida also hired one of the more successful analytic bloggers to be part of their management team, specializing in prospect analysis, and I am a bit wary of signing a guy that they may not seem to want.

Jimmy Mullin, RW (24) – Mullin is someone that I can only see getting an AHL deal at best. While a hard worker he has really fallen off –statistically speaking– after a nice rookie year. The 4th rounder by Tampa will be lucky to get a chance.

Tanner Lane, LW (24)– Lane hasn’t been able to produce at all in the NCAA and doesn’t seem to have an NHL future. That said he is an “Atlanta Thrasher” draft pick and I miss them.

Eddie Wittchow, D (24)- The captain of Wisconsin’s team is a 6’3 defensive defenseman. While a hard worker and plays a really solid defensive game, clearing the crease and winning board battles, Wittchow has almost no offense to his game. Unlike the last three players however, the former Panther 6th rounder has practiced with an ECHL team so he may be garnering at least some interest. He too likely gets an AHL deal at best and if so it’s always nice to have hard working defensively responsible guys helping the AHL team.

John Draeger, D (22)- Draeger is a right handed defensive defenseman who, when healthy, can log a lot of top minutes. The former 3rd rounder by Minnesota can skate well and while that can bode well for a future offensive game, it doesn’t seem likely based on his history in the NCAA. That said he uses his skating exceptionally well to help shut down the opposition. The MSU player seems like a player the Rangers may invite to Traverse City because they really do need more defensemen on that roster.

Thomas Di Pauli, C/LW (22)- This guy is my favorite out of all available NCAA guys sans Vesey. The 5’11 Italian born forward and former Capitals draft pick is perfect for NYC. He plays a hard working gritty game for Notre Dame, and while not a great skater is good enough to be one of those tenacious energy forwards that help force offense to happen off turnovers. Di Pauli doesn’t have the greatest hands but has consistently gotten better in the NCAA, hitting a career high 32 points in 37 games last season.

If you look at '15 compared to '16 Di Pauli is shooting at a much higher clip which may mean there is more offense somewhere there

If you look at ’15 compared to ’16 Di Pauli is shooting at a much higher clip which may mean there is more offense somewhere there

Di Pauli was originally used only as a defensive forward, so his last two years of offensive output may be coming from more playing time. In my opinion this is a good sign to maybe take a risk on him. With the Rangers signing a lot of guys for the 4th line role who play a similar style to Di Pauli, developing him to avoid getting into contract wars for more expensive 4th liners –Tanner Glass– seems like a good idea.

John Gilmour, D (23) – The left handed Providence College defenseman and former 7th round pick by the Calgary Flames has slowly but surely improved his all around game to become a decent target out of the NCAA. Gilmour is a very poised defenseman who is also very strong on the puck. He uses his skating to help settle plays down and is a nice passer. He can help with the breakout from the defensive zone, something the Rangers sorely need. Another feature of Gilmour that may be of interest is his hard but very accurate shot from the point.

Quentin Shore, C/RW (22) – While the 6th rounder of the Ottawa Senators hasn’t lit up the NCAA, he has been consistently a modest point producing two way center for the University of Denver. Shore is a defensive center, and while I am usually not a fan of drafting these guys, the Rangers can use more prospects at the moment. He is not an incredible skater but isn’t bad, he doesn’t have Shannahan’s shot but it is also not weak or inaccurate either. All in all he is just a player that gets his defensive job done and chips in offensively with great net front play every other game or so. As I said with Di Pauli, I’d rather develop 4th liners from the NCAA than pay for them on the free agent market. Shore is also the brother of Nick who is LA’s new 4th line center, and Drew who was a highly touted prospect for Florida but couldn’t put it all together.

All in all signing Di Pauli and Gilmour would be a pretty nice coup if the team never really had a chance with Vesey.

"August 15th is not just Jimmy Vesey Day", 5 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.
Categories : Prospects


  1. Richter1994 says:

    Yeah, I would be very surprised if Vesey signs here, but you never know.

    As for Buffalo, if he really wanted to sign there he would have already. The contract is the same no matter where he goes, though teams can play around with the bonuses but it’s not a material issue. Playing time is.

  2. amy says:

    it will either be buffalo or new York for Vesey he has friends on both sides

  3. Walt says:

    I don’t know much about this Vesey kid, other than he walked away from the Preds, and wants to play else ware. It would be nice to sign this kid but what about his head?? Does he have a huge ego that we would have to deal with?? There seems an awful lot of interest in him from many teams, so time will tell who he picks!!!!!!!

    As for the listed players, there really isn’t much to write home about, pretty much all AHL, or lower league players. The only one that tweaked my interest was Wittchow. Big, strong, crease clearing d-man, from the same school as Step, and Mac Truck, he is one I would definitely invite to Traverse City. Last, but not least, I like the sound of my paisano, Di Pauli, just because we need a good Italian kid on the roster to exchange receipts !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Chris A says:

      It’s not about ego Walt, it’s about taking advantage of the rules that are in place. The NHL left a massive loophole in the CBA and smart players and agents have been plowing through it.

      I’m sure next CBA you will see the rules changed so NCAA players have to wait a full NHL year after leaving college to become free agents.

    • Spozo says:

      Hayes did the same thing. I wouldn’t read too much in to this

  4. SalMerc says:

    All the kids mentioned are ho-hum. No excitement really. Vescey may be getting some bad advise from his agent, who could be blowing smoke up the kids you know what. To me, Buffalo looks like a team he can grow with for years to come, unless he wants to be the number 1 star every night – that isn’t going to happen there.

    By waiting until Aug 15th, he allows a bidding war to erupt, increasing his chances of a bigger payday, which tells me it is less about playing time and more about the money (isn’t it alway$).

    • Walt says:


      There is a limit on ELC, the only additional money that could be involved would be bonuses. That stated, and understood, we could be a team that offers the most. although the Buffalo ownership has real deep pockets !!!!!!!!!!!!

      FYI, the owner of the Buffalo team donated the entire amount needed to build the arena for the Penn State hockey program. He made his fortune drilling gas wells upstate Pa., and elsewhere ………..

      • SalMerc says:

        If the kid wanted Buffalo, then why is he waiting? He must want to go somewhere else. Why anyone would want NJ is beyond me. I think the next 2 weeks will tell us a lot, with respect to Kreider and Hayes.

        • Chris A says:

          Why wouldn’t Vesey wait and keep all options on the table? It’s the smart move, you never know what opportunities can open up if you simply exercise a little bit of patience.

          The NJ thing is an odd one for sure. Sounds like his agent is trying to generate interest from the NY teams. It’s like when you talk to the less attractive woman in a group just so you can draw the attention of her better looking friends. Sometimes it works and you’re a hero and sometimes you end up going home with a pig (NJ).

  5. Bloomer says:

    Kevin Hayes does indeed have uber talent and no he is not lazy. Acquiring Vesey would be a great move, as the Rangers do have the capspace. However, when I read that the kid is looking at going to Jersy or Buffalo, it makes me wonder how aggressively the Rangers are in pursuing him. Perhaps he’s too rough and tumble for AVs liking.

  6. SalMerc says:

    Not sure if this is old news, but arbitration numbers in for Kreider – Salary Arbitration numbers New York Rangers/ Chris Kreider. Club offer $3.2M / Player asking $4.75M

    Make of it what you will

  7. Ric Erdheim says:

    Of the five more interesting players, Shore, DiPauli, Dreger, Gilmour and Wittchow, none attended their drafting teams’ prospect development camp indicating that they will go UFA on August 15.

    Keegan Iverson, former Ranger 3rd round pick was at the Minnesota camp and Ryan Mantha, Ranger 4th round pick was at the Buffalo camp.

  8. Jake W says:

    Shore,Di Pauli,Gilmour and I’d take a chance Wittchow,Draeger and Gallacher we need defensemen! And I think 1 of these 3 end up beingbthe next Girardi!