Is it time for Vinny Lettieri to get a shot?

November 20, 2017, by

vinny lettieri

With each passing game, the desperate need for a 3C intensifies. Last night, with David Desharnais struggling, the Rangers shuffled the lineup, putting Paul Carey into the mix. This is the same Paul Carey that Alain Vigneault passed over in favor of 11F/7D earlier in the season.

As it sits right now, Desharnais is the 3C (sometimes masquerading as a 2C) and Carey is the 13F. When one struggles, the other is in the lineup. That’s not the most ideal scenario. Replacing Derek Stepan with literally nothing was not a smart move. While we wait for a potential trade, a move from within may be the best bet in the short term.

While the primary focus has been on Filip Chytil’s performance with the Hartford Wolf Pack (5-6-11 in 9 games), Vinny Lettieri may be the safer bet in the short term for a quick cuppa to see what they have.

Lettieri, signed as an undrafted free agent, has an impressive line of 8-5-13 in 17 games this year with the Pack, for an 82 game pace of 38-24-62. The 22 year old center is second on the team in scoring (Cole Schneider), but tops in goals. He’s had a very impressive start to the season.

The big question about his scoring is how it would translate to the NHL level. Rob Vollman has had an NHLe (NHL-equivalent) scoring model for a few years now, and has tweaked it as needed. The most recent version has the scoring at .47 NHL points per AHL point.

We can use Lettieri’s 82 game pace to give a nice estimate of how that might average out at the NHL level, which would come to 18-11-29 pace over 82 games. Naturally this is not an exact science, but it’s a good framework.

Lettieri also has a bunch of connections with the Rangers, attending prospect camps in 2014 and 2015. Brady Skjei was key in his recruitment as well. He’s a heady player with clear offensive talent. With the Rangers desperately needing a 3C, Lettieri might be a pleasant surprise in that role.

"Is it time for Vinny Lettieri to get a shot?", 5 out of 5 based on 11 ratings.
Categories : Prospects


  1. Blueshirts 94 says:

    He should be the first guy up. Chytil has been great in Hartford, but he’s better off getting top line minutes there than bottom six minutes in NYC.

  2. SalMerc says:

    We need another center, yes. Do we need Stepan’s name in nearly ever other blog-post, no. It is done, get over it.

    • Creature Feature says:


    • RichS says:

      Whats with all the thumbs down????????? You are 100% correct…….
      Stepan and his 2 ? goals in 24 games?????? We dont miss him one at
      all…………….who we really miss Mr. Gorton and AV is OSCAR ”’FREAKEN”’ LINDBERG!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Again, I have to ask…..DO THEY WATCH THE FREAKEN GAMES???????

      • upstate tom says:

        can’t agree with you more !!! really don’t get the thumbs down.

      • Chris A says:

        Let’s have some perspective here. Lindberg has played 18 games this year, averaging 13:34 of ice time per game and has all of 5 points, all goals.

        David Desharnais, who everyone loves to dump on around here, has played 20 games, averaging 13:28 of ice time per game has posted 2 goals and 8 points on the season.

        DD has been 5% better at the faceoff dot than Lindberg and only carries a $1M cap hit to Oscar’s $1.7M cap hit.

        Lindberg is just an average player, I don’t really understand why everyone thinks he’s the missing piece. Boo has been a perfectly fine replacement for Lindberg and he’s 2 years younger than Oscar.

        • Reenavipul says:

          Younger, bigger, stronger, not a minus player. Filled the role better than Desharnais can.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I was all in favor of trying to find a way to keep Lindberg, but once again, Captain Hyperbole (Rich) is overstating his value. He has gone 7 games without a point and apparently was a healthy scratch yesterday (what?…Gallant must “hate” Lindberg as much as AV did!).

          Lindberg is a good solid player. Would have been fine if we had been able to keep him. As for Captain Hyperbole’s comments about Stepan, let’s not forget he is playing on arguably the most pitiful team in the history of post-lockout hockey. Stepan is a solid guy on a good team like the Rangers. He surely is not a guy capable of lifting a moribund team on his shoulders single-handedly.

          I will say again, if the cap and the NMC were not an issue, Stepan would have been retained and the Rangers would be a better team if he was still here.

          • gene4240 says:

            Agree, Step is a solid centerman but not the guy, Derek needs to be playing with wingers who can score and play defensively.

            Rangers had to move Stepan no question, cannot have another NTC and a player making over 6 million. Needed the cap space to sign a player like Shatty. If anybody should be mad at is Glen Sather. Glen gave out those contracts to Staal, Girardi and Stepan and traded away many first and second rounders which could have been used as assets to acquire a player the Rangers need today like a Jacob Trouba on the blue line next to McD.

            • Walt says:


              Now you’re singing my song, Sather was one of the worst things to happen to us in years!!!!!!!

              • tanto says:

                I agree that Sather made a few bad long term signings but he also made a lot of good moves. Think what you want about Sather, but he gave us a team capable of winning a SC … a team that was a couple of calls away from beating the Kings.

              • Walt says:


                and a coach who couldn’t deliver with that same team!!!!!!!

              • Chris A says:

                Yeah Walt, tanto is right. Sather saved this franchise from the quagmire Neil Smith dragged it into during the Cup hangover.

                Most of Sather’s absolute worst contracts happened in the pre salary cap days when the Rangers were forced to ice a team full of 30+ year olds because the draft yielded basically nothing from 1996-1999

              • John B says:

                “Sather saved this franchise from the quagmire Neil Smith dragged it into during the Cup hangover.”

                I always marvel at how Neil Smith is blamed for that but it is always left out just how strong of a hand Mark Messier had in that quagmire as well. Anyone who thinks, that Mark Messier had nothing to do with the moves that Smith made/didn’t make, is truly fooling themselves.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I think John is correct. I believe Messier was instrumental in just about everything that happened to the franchise between ‘92 and ‘97. The coaching change from Nielsen to eventually get Keenan. The deals at the deadline in ‘94 that helped solidify the Cup. And probably he had an even bigger say on the really awful deal that shipped Zubov out of town. But Smith certainly could have said no to that deal (he has often said he regretted that Zubov trade), so that’s on him.

                The analysis of Sather’s reign is more complex. Yes, he was brought in to fix the mess that the Rangers had become. His early attempts at doing so were a colossal failure. Draft picks when we were a non-playoff team were a bust. You MUST capitalize on those picks when you are bad (see the Pens and Bolts as prime examples of this). Then, after a bad start to his Rangers tenure, he should get credit for righting the ship. Drafting got better. Trades did as well. The Rangers over the past 12 years have been one of the most successful franchises in the league. They just haven’t been good enough to win it all, sad to say.

                And Walt, I know you couldn’t resist getting a dig in at AV, but surely you are not suggesting that the players are the ones solely responsible for the Cup run in 2014, while the coach is solely responsible for the loss to the Kings. Or are you?

                The Rangers made a surprise Cup run. Players and coaches all deserved props for it. They lost to a much better team that had won the Cup just two years before. No shame in that at all. But if there is finger pointing to be done, blame it on the pathetic performance of our forwards who couldn’t put the puck in the net.

              • Walt says:


                Let’s not forget how Girardi was exposed for what he is, slow, non skating d-man, who was taken advantage of by the Kings. Now maybe a change in strategy would have helped, but no, we stick to a losing formula come heck, or high water.

                Let’s also not forget we led in most of those games, but somehow we lost, again with danny boy back there, doing what he does best, cough up the puck.

                I was never a fan of Sather, a clown who came in here claiming with our money, he’d win cups, until he came, and did squat. We are on different pages again about this management team, and how some slow footed people got long term deals, NMC, well past their prime, and I won’t give them a pass on it. Disagree all you want, but that’s where I’m coming from!

          • RichS says:

            3E …
            .You really need to get your facts straight, I am getting tired of having to correct you …..
            This is what vegas coach Gallant had to say about oscar lindberg””. “He’s been tremendous for us,” Gallant said. “The guy comes to work every day, never complains and does whatever you ask of him.” and from the other day……”We need to find him some PP time”’
            How many games have you even sen him play?????
            I expect better from you 3E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


              Getting the facts straight is always my goal. So here are some facts for you.

              The Gallant quote you mentioned happened on 10/29. Lindberg was in the midst of a really good stretch of play, no question. The coach complimented him (by the way, Gallant also had glowing things to say about your overrated boy McIlrath…and that was right before he sent him to the press box and then eventually, the AHL, where he has remained. So kind words from Gallant does not necessarily mean much).

              November has been a different tale for Lindberg. As I said….FACTUALLY…he is pointless over the last 7 games, and was a healthy scratch in the last game. So please, explain to me what I said above that was factually inaccurate?

              I largely agree with your overarching point, which is that I wish there was a way to have kept Lindberg. But the draft rules were what they were. We were going to lose someone of value. No getting around it. Where I vehemently disagree with you is the level of value you place on him compared to Stepan. Lindberg is not as great a player as you make him out to be, nor does Stepan “stink”, as you inaccurately suggest. There is a middle ground here for these two good but hardly great players.

              • RichS says:

                You did it again…Are you teasing me…???.
                I NEVER said Lindberg was GREAT……..but he played terrific / wonderful/ great for us after getting healthy from his injury and in the playoffs……that 4th line was as good as any other for us and now, because of his absence we DO NOT have a 4th line what so ever!
                If you disagree that line was not a factor for us, their is nothing else I can say , since we see it differently…..
                As far as Gallants comments….I still maintain that he knows more than we do…..and for him to take an expansion team to the record they have so far , says alot about his coaching/knowledge IMHO>>>>>..BUT as always I enjoy talking RANGERS HOCKEY!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I agree…always fun. And yes, no doubt, Lindberg was good on the 4th line. But not so indispensible that he couldn’t be exposed in the draft. And I agree Gallant is an excellent coach who knows his stuff..and certainly knows more than we do.

                But wait! Aren’t you the guy who says we out here in the blogosphere know more about hockey than most of the GMs and coaches out here?

                And if you are such an admirer of Gallant, then I am sure then you are thoroughly supportive of his stance on McIlrath, when the coach said—

                “He has to work on his foot speed, he’s been told that before. That’s something that’s going to have to get better. … When he gets his opportunity, he’s going to have to make the most of it.”. Of course, he never was able to and that was that.

                So as long as you are consistent in your praise of Gallant, then yes, I agree, he certainly knows more than we do! 🙂

        • Richter1994 says:

          Chris, and you can look at the game logs, DD has 5 of those 8 pts in a 5 game stretch in the middle of October.

          While DD only has one PP pt, he’s had numerous opportunities on the 2nd PP unit, so to say about his pts in the games he’s played, after you break it down. is not very flattering or impressive.

          So yes, I would try Oscar at 3C and Lettieri at 4C over what we have now based on what we know we have.

        • RichS says:

          Did you watch our 4th line in last years playoff series against canadians and senators…….They had a terrific series both offensively and defensively and were great on the forecheck and brought a physical aspect to this team! At times they were our most effective line.
          IMHO DD is overmatched against just about everyone he goes up against…..loses every puck battle, gets manhandled in scrums, doesn’t add much offensively……and he has been playing with much better wings than Lindberg!
          He was a free agent available for a reason……He stinks…..

        • Eugene says:

          DD can not keep the puck and he is pushed around and he is defensive liability… Hi is not good for top 6 because of his skills and is not good for bottom 6 because of the size and physical conditions…

    • Dave says:

      It’s not about Stepan, it’s about the gaping hole at center that Gorton didn’t replace.

      Get over the name. See the point being made.

      • SalMerc says:

        Still pretty amazing that I got 11 thumbs-down in less than 5 minutes. Twice as many thumbs as responses.

        It is the little things in life that bring joy to some people. Who am I to steal away that joy?

        • Walt says:


          It’s either giving you, and others thumbs down, or choke their chickens, if they can find them!! What a bunch of fools. Now to that crowd, please start giving me my share for the day!!!!!

      • Chris F says:

        All the thumbs down are a reflection of you missing the point entirely. We need a center. We need a center specifically because Stepan was dealt and no real replacement was brought in.

        Of course an article addressing that hole is going to make mention of the loss of Stepan.

        You moaning about the mere mention of Stepan’s name is an petty response to Dave’s article. Hence all the thumbs down.

  3. Randy says:

    I thought Lettieri looked great in preseason and I thought he was gonna make the team. Don’t see any harm in giving the kid a shot…he has good wheels and can make plays. Just need him to lock down defensively.

  4. Richter1994 says:

    Is it time for Vinny Lettieri to get a shot?


  5. Resident Genius says:


  6. Spozo says:

    Lettieri projected for 29 points over an 82 game season is less than Desharnais current 82 game pace.

    Lettieri is going to be this seasons “since we haven’t seen him play with the big club he has got to be better than what we currently have”.

    • Richter1994 says:

      DD is a stiff as evidenced by being a healthy scratch for HOFamer Paul Carey, so maybe if Vinnie had better players to play with then he would do well enough to be productive here.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


      If there is one thing we have learned about this blog, it’s that if there is a player in the minors or on the bench who impresses us with his play in pre-season, or some other brief snippet of a action, we will immediately overrate him, and skewer AV for not playing him. (See Etem, McIlrath, Clendening, Bourque, etc, etc).

      I have no idea if Lettieri is ready or not. When and if he is, i’m sure management will be eager to promote him. I assume that since he is not here at the moment, then he probably isn’t ready quite yet.

      • Spozo says:

        Add James Shepard to that list of “he wasn’t playing therefore he has to be better than what we currently have on the ice”.

        • Richter1994 says:

          we know how bad some of the players are already so why not try something a little different that may improve the team?

      • Richter1994 says:

        Again, you have to try something different. DD gets benched for Carey for God’s sakes. Is it warranted? Maybe not, based on the coach, but still. Seeing his play does nothing for me that can’t be either matched or exceeded by younger players.

  7. Creature Feature says:

    If you are going to put JT at center, why not put Vinny Lettieri on his wing for a few games. Can’t be any worse than what we currently have.

  8. upstate tom says:

    like i said in yesterdays comments i was @ the utica comet’s game sat. and letteri was awesome. he was all over the place always being noticed with high energy, he’s playing better than some on the a-team. the whole thing is if they do bring him up our numbskull coach needs to play him and not have him watch. he’s also not a 4th line player although he could be, he just wouldn’t be utilized correctly. need to put him in where he can PLAY !!!! besides he can play wing too.

    • Reenavipul says:

      With Chytil back, who played on the wing; Lettieri or Chytil?

      • upstate tom says:

        letteri played wing most of the time, chytil took most of the faceoffs just not well that nite, once again first nite back. they played well together, @ least on sat. either could play wing or center depending on how the play was developing, impressed with both. actually letteri, chytil, and miller down the road would a possibility, huh.

        • Reenavipul says:

          Making a point about where Lettieri is in the pecking order when it comes to centers. When you’re 4th in the pecking order as a top 6 C in Hartford, you’re in row Z as a bottom 6 C in the NHL.

    • wwpd says:

      What line did Lindberg play on with the Pack those two years? He was a 50 pt player his first couple of pro years if I recall.

      Not everyone needs to jump up to a top 6 role in the NHL because they had success in the top 6 one level down. I’m guilty of thinking that way myself sometimes, but those solid 3rd/4th line guys we always wish for come from someplace and it’s often top 6 in the AHL. If a guy has done all he can with the Pack and isn’t gaining anything else and is nhl ready, I’m happy to see him play the nhl game getting regular shifts in our bottom 6 at first (as long as we have a coach who actually rolls lines and doesn’t just bury the 4th line all the time)

  9. Stevem says:

    I will go to Hartford and pick the kid up myself

  10. Richter1994 says:

    Honestly, anyone that is happy with this roster and thinks this roster will contend is smoking something that is not legal.

    And what’s even more comical is that once a change is made, the new player has like one game to prove himself to the naysayers, the same naysayers that are silent as the players they like stink it up night after night.

    Someone on the Banter mentioned that Duclair had a hat trick the other night, implying how much we were missing by trading him. I pointed out that he should also mention Duclair the 100 other games the guy is invisible.

    I would even tolerate a Lettieri/Nieves 3C/4C combo at this point than seeing stiffs like DD and Carey hit the ice. I’m sure they’re very nice gentlemen but I don’t want them playing on the hockey team I root for.

    • Spozo says:

      No one here is in love with Desharnais. But there is little evidence to say that Lettieri is an upgrade. Sure he COULD be. But management feels otherwise at this point.

      The whole situation sucks and just highlights the hole the GM left down the middle of this team. They gutted the middle and hoped to catch lightening in a bottle with Chytil and this is the backup plan we were left with. There likely isn’t a center answer in this organization unless Chytil is ready.

      There will be a trade for a center unless this team is clearly out of playoff contention.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Quite honestly Spozo, I don’t know what Lettieri or Oscar or you or I would do. None. Admittedly.

        I agree with you, the Rangers put themselves in a corner with the center position, they mucked it up royally. Awful. There is no one out there as you 100% correctly said.

        So, they have to do it in house. I do believe that Chytil gets a call up at some point unless the trade market loosens up as teams look to dump players.

        But in the meantime, why not “try” Lettieri? I liked him out of camp but understood why he was sent down. He’s doing well, give him 5 games to see if he can handle NHL time. Better now than having to find out later. He may be a bust but at least you will find that out.

        The Rangers have to “decide” what they are going to do at the trade deadline. Trade valuable assets for another run? A top 9 center is required which will cost trade wise, not cheap. IMO, and I hate to say this, I don’t know if it’s worth it. I wold rather bank on Chytil and Lettieri, than trade Miller or whatever to get a top 9 center.

        • Spozo says:

          I don’t want them to overpay for an OK center at this point. They invested too much in to Trading down to get Anderson for them to trade a Kreider or Miller for a band aid 2nd line center in my opinion.

          I say if they aren’t in contention (and I mean make it past the 1st round contention) then trade Nash to a contender. It will take a contender for him to waive his NTC. Sweeten the pot and eat half his contract to get back a better return. At that point the rangers won’t need the cap space and any contender would likely have a hard time absorbing a 7.8 cap hit and the point of the trade is not take back a bad contract. I would even entertain Zuke trade offers. I’m on the fence about McDonagh. He is hands down the best defenseman we have had in 2 decades but is getting old enough that the 7/8 year contract he will receive will be detrimental to the signing team in a not too distant 4-5 years.

          Honestly I think the worst case scenario is for this team to end up comfortably in a wild card position by the trade deadline. Ya know, just tease management enough to think they have a shot at a cup run so they add to the team instead of sell off assets.

        • Spozo says:

          I think we are in agreement on most here Richter!

          • Richter1994 says:

            we are in total agreement here my friend. 🙂

            I keep harping on Bozak only because he would be a good fit at 3C, with Miller and Vesey or Grabner as his wings, at maybe a reasonable trade cost.

            I mean you know the Rangers would never sell if they’re at .500.

      • Richter1994 says:

        good post.

  11. Bloomer says:

    First off I thought JT looked poised the other night against the Sens. He as good as any 3rd line pivot out there and a much better option then DD. DD is better suited as a 4th line center. Of course moving Miller to center leaves a hole to fill on the wing. The Rangers could also wade into the trade market in search of a winger. Or as mention in a previously comment give Lettieri a shot on the wing.

  12. Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:


  13. Eugene says:

    Technically it’s a long due to wave DD, he is not just up to task visually, when such a wings as JT and Vesey don’t produce with him it’s a storming signal. Carey also didn’t show anything convincing, despite of 4th line was good…

    2 possible options with Lettieri

    1. Take a wing with Nieves

    2. move Nieves up and have Lettieri as a 4th line center.