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."Appreciating Jimmy Vesey's improvements",