Jan
17

Appreciating Jimmy Vesey’s improvements

January 17, 2018, by
jimmy vesey

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jimmy Vesey was the prize undrafted free agent before last season, and the Rangers nabbed him. The former third round pick was instantly placed into a middle/bottom six role and put together a nice rookie season. The winger finished with a line of 16-11-27 in 80 games, which is impressive for a rookie given his usage.

That said, his play away from the puck left a lot to be desired. It didn’t go unnoticed that he was sporting a -4.27 rel CF%, a -13.32 rel GF% (!!), and a -5.83 rel xGF%, it just went without much criticism. He was a rookie and playing more than 40 games for the first time in his hockey career. His sophomore season would be looked at with more scrutiny, and he hasn’t disappointed.

In 44 games so far this season (last night not included), Vesey has put up a line of 9-7-16. That puts him on pace for roughly 16-13-29, so we could see him crack 30 points this season. But it’s his play without the puck that has shown significant improvement.

Vesey has made great improvements on all three of the above mentioned stats, with a -2.34 rel CF%, -7.03 rel GF%, and -2.9 rel xGF%. Ideally you want these stats to be in the positives, but let’s keep in mind that Vesey is playing with (based on TOI and CF% for their respective seasons) worse teammates this season. Also, the Rangers are an even larger possession vacuum than last season, so an improvement for any player, especially a second year kid, is worth noting.

The stats reflect what we’ve seen on the ice as well. The points are certainly nice, but Vesey seems more engaged and is making smarter decisions with the puck. There seems to be more confidence in his puck movement.

In his role, Vesey is improving. With the Blueshirts seemingly stuck in neutral (or worse), any positive from a development standpoint is worth recognizing. Vesey is a smart kid, and should continue to improve on all aspects of his game.

Today is a day of positives. Let’s stick with that.

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Categories : Players

16 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    Vesey is another guy that you just can’t put anyone with him as linemates and expect him to produce. He’s not a puck possessor, he needs someone to carry the biscuit for him and set him up for shots and garbage goals (which is his strong suit).

    That’s why I have always suggested that Nash and Hayes be his linemates. Both can carry and possess the puck while Vesey is free to go the net. Vesey is one of the few that goes to the front of the net on a regular basis.

    • Egelstein says:

      I’m not as sold on Hayes as their specific C. (Mainly because I’m holding out hope that AV will be fired any minute now, and the next guy in will say, “Hayesie…pretty much every scout who ever set eyes on you labeled you a ‘playmaker’, spoke of your elite hands for a guy your size, spoke of your ability to shield the puck through the neutral zone with your body and transition into the offensive end…not sure why that other guy who cleaned out the office yesterday translated that to ‘3rd line defensive specialist’…but we’re gonna get you back to the playmaking, eh?”). Nonetheless, I also said in the past that I thought Vesey and Nash should be playing across from each other on the same line since their games are so complimentary, and I definitely still concur with that sentiment.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Right, if Hayes were the player he should be then he’s perfect fit for Nash and Vesey. My lines (when everyone is healthy):

        Kreider-Zib-Buch
        Vesey-Hayes-Nash
        Grabner-Miller-Zuc
        Future HOFamer Lettieri-DD-Fast

        • Egelstein says:

          I should have finished the thought a little more…as constituted, yes – that would almost have to be the case. I’d love to see what Hayes could do on a true balls-out scoring line, though, and to me, Vesey and (sadly) Nash have some limits in that area of late (Nash’s luck finally changing a bit last night aside, of course).

          • Richter1994 says:

            Nash needs to do what he does when he scores a goal, in general anyway, elevate the puck on his shots.

        • wwpd says:

          and who plays RW1 when buch moves down to RW4 after his second shift?

          🙂

          i kid

    • Bloomer says:

      Actually Richter my thoughtd were once Nash is moved at the trade deadline, Vesey moves into Nash’s spot on Hayes flank. Give Jimmy some more minutes and see what he is made of. I believe he is ready to take the next step.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hey pal. I’m still trying to decide whether the Rangers will actually trade Nash and/or Grabner or not. I feel like if they do then they are admitting that they are not contenders.

        But can you see them trading those players while sitting in a playoff spot? Because the return for them will be futures, not players that will help them now.

        That’s the million dollar question. I tend to think that they hold onto these players while sitting in a playoff spot to make the playoffs. The other division is so bad that both wild cards will come out of the Metro, increasing the Rangers’ chances of making the playoffs.

  2. Ray says:

    Despite only playing 45 games, Vesey is 11th among Ranger forwards in scoring. With any luck, he will even pass Kreider sometime in February. Awesome for someone on the second PP unit.

    He has a better +/- than Zib or Shattenkirk (no one else admittedly), but of course the other two get burned by SH and EN goals so it is a little misleading.

    Sorry, I just don’t see an NHL player here.

  3. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Vesey is just the type of player suited for the bottom six. He gives full effort every shift. If Holland works out please drop DD and bring back Boo to man the 4th line. See this team isn’t winning a CUP. Be smart with trades for ready NHL talent or1st round picks or a combination. We need that stud center because you don’t win a cup without one. Oh to many nice guys on this team.

  4. Odielishous says:

    Nice article Dave.

    I like the stats to prove his positive momentum on a team with a negative momentum.

    I think he is a perfect example of AV’s system which is under utilizing players skill sets. I feel he is a good boards guy, with just more experience and a few more pounds on him, he could be great. He has great hands, certainly no Krieder. I don’t think kreider could deke his way out of a barn. I would compare him to a mini version of Rick Nash. Little more weight, little more skating ability he could smash pucks into goalie pads also. Only kidding around, but it is not such a stretch between the 2 in my eyes.

    In the right system for him …I can see a 2nd or 3rd line winger but on this team with the centers and system they have …4th liner at best.

    To everyone who wants him up with nash and hayes….that would be 3 guys who can’t score and just like to dish. You have to have a Hull or Ovi on a line with those 2. That why Zippy is the best guy for Nash and Hayes. Hayes dishes, Zippy shoots and Nash cleans up the rebounds.

    Vesey is best served by being surrounded by shoot first type players. This way he can clean up the garbage. His elite hands permit him to be in close. He doesn’t have breakaway speed and is not a grinder on the boards…so what is left is garbage in front of net goals that Pat Verbeek made a career off of. He just has to show a willingness to take the punishment and learn how to box out better so he beats defenders to the rebounds.

  5. Ralph C says:

    Wasn’t Jimmy Vesey supposed to be better than “on the same plane with Jesper Fast” when he signed? I remember there being a ton of hype for him and also Kevin Hayes.

    • Egelstein says:

      IMO, the hype surrounding the NCAA free agents isn’t always just based purely on the player’s skill – it is a chance to get a perhaps top-three-round type talent for nothing other than the money, which teams covet (especially teams like the Rangers, who have a bit of a history emptying their own cupboard of early round picks, of course). So the press is all over it, and tends maybe to talk these players up a bit more than they would be talked up if they were simply being drafted that year. It’s also simply a story when there may not be a ton of hockey news otherwise.

      Personally, I thought Hayes was a much higher ceiling prospect than Vesey, but I was excited for both in the way that there was the potential to recoup a little talent that was sent out the door via trading picks.

  6. Arisrules says:

    He’s an ok bottom six player, and a fine player on a sheltered third line. He’s not a top 6 guy, and I definitely would not want him matching up against the opposition’s top players.