What Jimmy Vesey would mean to the Rangers

Jimmy Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award with 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) as a senior
Jimmy Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award with 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) as a senior

After weeks of relative silence, the rumor mill will begin churning again this week as August 15 approaches. That’s the day Jimmy Vesey officially becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The heralded Harvard alum is essentially this year’s version of Kevin Hayes and will draw league-wide interest after spurning first Nashville, then Buffalo after the Sabres traded for his rights prior to the draft.

By most accounts, Vesey is an NHL-ready prospect that could instantly step into an NHL lineup and has legitimate top-six potential.

It remains somewhat unlikely that Vesey joins New York, but the Blueshirts are believed to be on Vesey’s anticipated short list of potential homes alongside the Sabres, Toronto, Boston and Chicago. Each of those clubs has its own advantage that could help sway Vesey.

The Sabres have Vesey’s close friend, Jack Eichel – and the two Massachusetts natives have been skating together all summer.

The Maple Leafs are a team on the rise with young talent in spades and they have two Veseys already in the organization – Vesey’s brother Nolan, who was drafted in 2014, and Jimmy’s father, who serves as a scout.

The Bruins are Vesey’s hometown club and childhood favorite team – joining them would allow Vesey to remain close to his beloved Harvard buddies and family.

And the Blackhawks have recently emerged as a legitimate option – because I guess for some reason it might be appealing to play for the league’s most dominant franchise.

The Rangers’ big draw is Hayes, who is another of Vesey’s close buddies. That, and Vesey’s agent, Peter Fish, has a long-standing relationship with GM Jeff Gorton.

This is a case where money is basically irrelevant. Vesey is such a hot commodity because he’s a strong prospect and he’s cost-controlled. Every team will offer essentially the same package of a $925k base salary plus performance bonuses, so it’s not as if forking over a fat wad of cash will seal the deal here. This is all about fit and Vesey’s personal preference.

If the Blueshirts are lucky enough to land Vesey, it would only further strengthen their enviable core of young forwards. Though it feels like many of them have been in blue for years now, all of Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Mika Zibanejad, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg and Pavel Buchnevich are 26 years old or younger.

Adding Vesey to that group would give the Rangers a ton of options up front. They’d not only be equipped to trade from excess to help the blueline, but New York would be well set up to weather the departure of Rick Nash as a free agent two seasons from now.

And though the Rangers are frequently ranked as having one of the worst prospect pools in the league and none of those blossoming forwards is really considered among the game’s elite young talents, the group does collectively have plenty of potential.

Imagine a lineup like this:
Kreider/Stepan/Miller
Nash/Zibanejad/Zuccarello
Vesey/Hayes/Buchnevich
Grabner/Lindberg/Fast
(Gerbe, Jooris, Jensen, Glass)

The defense obviously still needs a ton of work and could hold that unit back from lighting the lamp as often as it could, but that’s the deepest, most talented offense the Blueshirts have had in years.

"What Jimmy Vesey would mean to the Rangers", 5 out of 5 based on 12 ratings.

48 thoughts on “What Jimmy Vesey would mean to the Rangers

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 9:47 am
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    When it comes to next year’s expansion draft, does Vesey require protection? Given his lack of NHL games, my guess would be no… meaning he wouldn’t even cost us the protection of another roster player which is gravy.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 9:51 am
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      He would be within his first two seasons of pro hockey, so he would be exempt from the expansion draft and not need protection.

      Just like Skjei.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 9:51 am
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      Would not, great point

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 10:05 am
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      Good point. He won’t need to be protected.

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 9:51 am
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    Would be great to get him, but still not convinced Hazy Daze is a center. Has the size but terrible on the dot, slow on D and soft on the wall. That 3rd line fantasy above will let up as many as they score if not more.
    .
    Still feel Miller should get a look at 3C if Haze’s progression continues to plateau. He has some D challenges as well but much more capable 2-way player IMHO than Blaze.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 10:04 am
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      Hayes is a center. He was terrible on the wing in the OZ. He creates offense and belongs down the middle.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 5:52 pm
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      Hayes defensive-side advanced metrics are at pretty much full disagreement with many NYR fans’ “eye tests”. Shot suppression (relative CA/60) grades out as upper tier 2nd line/lower tier first line. Productive possession (relative CD/60) grades out as upper tier second line. His linemates have a Corsi for of 48% without him next to them, and 51% with him next to them. In other words, your eyes may be fooling you about his defensive skill. If he is as slow on D or soft on the wall as many seem to opine, the numbers show he is making up for it in big ways elsewhere defensively somehow. If you don’t like numbers (and I know some here don’t, to each their own), I don’t know what to say…but even if they aren’t perfect, they would be telling a big whopper of a lie to have them be that good and not be true…and numbers never lie that much.

      He is horrific on the dot though, no arguing that. I’m hoping that’s been a big emphasis of his offseason training, and will be a big emphasis of his preseason coaching as well.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 8:31 pm
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      Miller at 3C is absolutely a better option than Hayes, who is not a centre by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Aug 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm
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      Its funny how people will use last season as a frame of reference for Kevin when he was D!(ked around the lineup by his coach like a yo-yo, never given the chance to settle into a spot and let him play his game.

      He looked crappy on D when he was asked to play wing (not his natural position and requires a different D positioning.) They look at the one play where hw was burned playing the middle like a center and let (Sheary I believe) go in on a breakaway.

      Hayes is going to be a very good player in this league for a very long time. This coach needs to stop playing favorites and we will see more of the rookie season “I have faith in you” Hayes and less of the BS AV was doing to him last season.

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 10:32 am
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    whom would you move to guarantee jimmy the top-6 ice time it is reported that he is requiring?

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 10:43 am
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      I think the Rangers could sell him on playing on the third line in NY simply based on the fact that AV deploys his third line extremely well. Vesey may miss out on a couple of minutes per game playing on the third line vs. top 6, but his O-Zone start% should make up for the difference on the stat sheet, especially in home games where AV has the last change.

      That being said, a third line of Hayes centering Vesey and Buch makes my skin crawl. There’s a good chance that JT Miller would have to be flipped with Hayes to make that work.

      • Aug 9, 2016 at 11:24 am
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        Again, let’s not let the eye get in the way of the facts. Hayes at 5v5 had a strong ga/60. In fact, the best of the returning opening day lineup.

        • Aug 9, 2016 at 3:39 pm
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          I would wager that a big reason Hayes has a strong ga/60 is that he gets to play sheltered minutes. I’m a huge Hayes fan but I don’t think his defensive play is anything worth discussing.

          • Aug 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm
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            So what? AV used him properly then? Not saying you have him out there against THEIR best, but he isn’t a defensive liability.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 11:20 am
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      I honestly hate that top 6 narrative. If the demands are true, Vesey is a putz. If they are not true then every media outlet that perpetuates the narrative is moronic.

      Look no further than the 2013-14 Rangers. Our 3rd line Pouliot/Brassard/Zucarello put up a combined 33-63-96 even strength scoring. Our 2nd line of Hagelin/Richards/Callahan/MSL put up a combined 37-48-85 even strength scoring. Hell, our first line of Step/Nash/Kreider put up 43-46-89. In other words… the 3rd line put up more points than the ‘top 6’. I’m not going to go into zone deployment or quality of competition stats, but the reason why the above is true, is due to the fact that Pouliot/Brass/Zuc was given very desirable minutes and usage.

      The more desirable guarantee from a club (as opposed to ‘top 6’ minutes ) would be power play minutes. The 3rd, 2nd and 1st lines that year all scored 68.6, 72.6 and 66.9% of points at evens…so all 9 forwards recorded about 30% of their points on the powerplay. Point being- PP deployment can definitely inflate point totals…which is pretty much what guys like Vesey are after in order to get a nice payday in 3 years.

      So while it would still be annoying to hear certain unproven players are demanding things…. to me, power play time actually makes sense. A spot in the top 6 doesn’t.

      /end rant

      • Aug 9, 2016 at 10:56 pm
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        Good points. No pun intended.

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 10:40 am
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    That would be a superb four lines, and arguably better than the group of lines that we ran several years ago when we made that run to the Cup. But like you said, the defense needs a lot of work, and is even worse than last year.

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 2:27 pm
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    Vesey will go where he feels most comfortable, that’s it. Let’s hope we can make him feel at ease, and that NYC is a desirable location for a young guy to play hockey.

    On a side note, if he is money hungrey, where in the world can he earn more than the advertising Meca of the world??????????????

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 4:45 pm
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      Toronto if they bring the CEO of Canadian Tire with them.

      Not sure what the exact numbers are, but I’m pretty sure only the Bruins and the Rangers can offer the max in performance bonuses out of the teams that he’s shown interest in.

      • Aug 9, 2016 at 5:16 pm
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        Bonuses are odd in that can be rolled into the following year if the team runs out of cap space. Of course, rolling the bonuses over could have unintended effects, but I think all teams interested in Vesey will be offering him max bonuses.

      • Aug 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm
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        I suspect that Toranto could give NY a run for their money, but which martkets are lager, US, or Canada????? I’m not pitting one against the other, but there is much more to be made in the US if he becomes a star !!!!!!!!!!! It must be nice to be in the drivers seat without having played a second of NHL hockey yet……….

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm
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    Kreider//Miller/Buchnevich
    Nash/Zibanejad/Zuccarello
    Vesey/Hayes/Hrivik
    Grabner/Lindberg/Fast
    (Gerbe, Jooris, Jensen, Glass)

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 3:15 pm
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    Sorry………would rather have Millers speed, aggressiveness, puck carrying ability rather than Stepan who is slow…….soft…….no shot…..Package him , nash, klein for young center , right wing or d man

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 3:32 pm
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      Who on earth is taking 6.5 + 7.8 + 2.9 million in salary in exchange for a young center, right wing or d man?

      • Aug 9, 2016 at 4:50 pm
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        Hahahaha, anyone in the league if you’re going to overpay that much for 1 player.

        I’d find a way to get rid of enough contracts to add that much to my team for 1 younger center, right wing or d man. Stepan is the best center on the team now and still under 27 years old.

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 6:10 pm
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    would love to have Vesey. Rangers need players who will shoot and Vesey would help. But then again, the same D corps…

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm
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      sad that it always comes back to that isn’t it?????????

      • Aug 10, 2016 at 6:11 am
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        but that’s what the problem is bro. Rangers are one really good D man (and subtracting one anchor off) from being a contending team.

        shuffle the forwards all around doesn’t change the back end.

        • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:06 am
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          I’m in agreement, and posted so, but it may have been misunderstood by you !!!!!!!! I’ve been saying all season we needed to sit the 3 older guys, Boyle, and the Dans !!!!!!!!!

          • Aug 10, 2016 at 2:54 pm
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            I did advocate for Shatty this year and the community sent pitch forks at me. 🙂

            • Aug 10, 2016 at 3:38 pm
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              Thanks to the expansion draft, Shatty is only a rental. The best the Rangers can do is get a ‘handshake’ agreement that he will sign long term after the expansion draft.

              • Aug 10, 2016 at 7:26 pm
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                not a problem, Shatty wants here badly.

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 7:36 pm
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    Vesey never spurned the Sabres… When Buffalo acquired his rights, he (his agent, team, etc) came out immediately and stated that they wouldn’t make a decision until Aug.15th or after regardless of the Sabres acquiring him.. Buffalo has a better shot at getting him with Eichel tham the Rangers do with Hayes.. Take that to the bank…

  • Aug 9, 2016 at 9:44 pm
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    Why not the Rangers? Hayes got a legitimite shot as did that hobey baker defenceman (his name slips me). It wouldn’t shock me if Vesey signed with the Rangers.

    • Aug 9, 2016 at 11:01 pm
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      Matt Gilroy? Yeah that was a bummer it didn’t work out. got his fair shot though

      • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:06 am
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        I still remember Matt Gilroy lighting it up in a preseason game. Scored 2 goals I think….. I kid you not, Joe Michelletti said something to the effect, “this player sure reminds you a lot of Brian Leetch, huh Sam?”

        Great call, Joe, great call……

        • Aug 10, 2016 at 10:01 am
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          Freaking Joe M. Can’t stand that guy.

          • Aug 10, 2016 at 10:15 am
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            You and me both, Chris. It’s beyond me why Maloney doesn’t have the TV gig. And what’s even more puzzling is that Micheletti gets playoff work with NBC. Bizzaro world….

            • Aug 10, 2016 at 11:45 am
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              Joe M. is very polished, that’s why he gets the big gigs. I love Maloney, but he speaks from his heart a bit much and that’s not ideal for TV (from an executive’s POV, for fans it’s exactly what we want).

  • Aug 10, 2016 at 7:13 am
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    If it comes down to Hayes’ endorsement. if not so sure that’s a good thing. Hayes openly displayed dissatisfaction with AV’s handling of him, in both his benching and continually moving around in line-up with the center to wing to center to wing…… you get my point.
    So although the Organization is top shelf and second to none. And Walt’s point about earning potential apart from salary, which is a valid point, along with Vesey’s agent and Gortor having a positive history with each other. Hayes’ feeling about the coach may have real impact on Vesey’s decision. And I’m not so sure it will be a positive one.
    Personally, I’d love to see him in a Ranger sweater.

  • Aug 10, 2016 at 7:54 am
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    All the rangers have to do is put Tanner Glass on the 1st line and they’re all set. Nobody else but Glass either. He is the top line. He’s a one man wrecking machine with skills far beyond guys like Crosby n Ovechkin. He should score about 40 goals this year with no problem.

  • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:03 am
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    It’s clear that Hayes will never amount to anything, I don’t care what the meaningless “numbers” say. I’ve seen enough hockey to know when I’m looking at a bust.

    • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:46 am
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      Hey Maz, I, as you, look past stats and rely on what I see on the ice. I don’t want to turn Kevin’s piece on Vesey into a Hayes dominated article, but I’d just like to comment. I’m not ready to call Hayes a bust as of yet. I do think last year wasn’t stellar by any means. I just wonder how much of his play resulted from coaching. Sometimes a player just doesn’t fit a coaches mold. I’ve been fairly vocal that I do not think AV is the right coach for THIS team. Coaching aside, there are parts of Hayes’ game that he can improve regardless of AV’s influence. Specifically, he’s been manhandled by much smaller players. He is big enough that he should be able to thwart off checks, especially by smaller, more diminutive players. And it wouldn’t hurt him to have him develope a bit of a mean streak. He like the vast majority of last year’s Ranger team is far too easy to play against. And I think that goes right back to the head coach.

    • Aug 10, 2016 at 11:29 am
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      Hayes averages 40 points per season. That’s a bust?

    • Aug 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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      AND YOU WERE SAYING THIS AFTER HIS ROOKIE SEASON ALSO, RIGHT????

      The only time any of know when we see a bust is when we fall face first into the chest of Kate Upton.

  • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:10 am
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    this would make Hayes a better player but I see him playing with Eichel

  • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:38 am
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    I rate NY right now as just over 50-50, but not a given.
    Rangers could up those odds to better than 3-2 in favor, maybe higher than 2-1
    IF

    THEY TRADED STEPAN who they have to move since he has NMC kicking in end of year
    AND OR
    if THEY TRADED ZUC

    in both cases for Ds/futures, esp those not required to be exposed in expansion draft

    Either good, both better. Why?

    would guarantee Vesey gets what he wants immediately, which is top 6 slotting.

  • Aug 10, 2016 at 8:46 am
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    I applaud Hayes for speaking out

    AV is genius w/ Xs + Os, but he is not good for younger guys (see Kreider, McIlrath, Miller).

    We obviously need to deal vets to get ahead of the cap, and reload since this team is good, but not good enough.

    Younger core should be built around, and AV must go.

    Hayes>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>AV

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