Real value versus perceived value: The cast of Jimmy Vesey

jimmy vesey
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Jimmy Vesey is an interesting player for the Rangers. A highly sought after college free agent, the former third round pick chose to come to New York after refusing to sign with Nashville. Vesey broke out in his junior year in Harvard, and used that leverage to select his destination.

I mention this only because that hype plays into how he is perceived across the league, especially by fans. That hype, coupled with a pair of seasons where he put up over 15 goals, has only fueled the discussion. Is Jimmy Vesey worth it? Or is he going to become overvalued?

Let’s start with the basics: Vesey has been used by Alain Vigneault in most situations, playing up and down the lineup and at all strengths. He has managed to put up 16 and 17 goal seasons, with most of his production coming at even strength. On the surface, that is pretty good.

The popular argument against Vesey is that while his goal counts are solid for a bottom-six player, there isn’t much else there. It isn’t difficult to come to this conclusion either.

Vesey’s possession numbers are downright atrocious. He isn’t playing sheltered minutes either, so it’s easy to see why this viewpoint can be had. However, and I’m going against the grain here, I am actually willing to give all Rangers from the past two seasons a pass on their possession numbers. I am 100% on board with the “it’s the system” train.

That said, his numbers do scare me a little bit. I’m willing to wait and see on Vesey to see if he can figure it out with a better coach, but that isn’t the point of this discussion. Given what Vesey is –a bottom-six player who scores 15-20 goals a year– he might be a case of higher perceived value than actual value.

Let’s take a step back for a second. When the Rangers signed Michael Grabner to a deal worth $1.6 million a year, it was deemed a fair deal for a guy who would put up 15-20 goals and be a shot of speed in the lineup the team sorely needed. Vesey puts up similar numbers to Grabner, at least before the latter broke out for all the goals. Yet it seems like fans are willing to pay more to keep Vesey around.

And therein lies the crux of the discussion. Vesey’s perceived value around the league may actually be higher than his actual value. All signs are pointing to Vesey getting a raise on his $925,000 salary from his ELC. The wrong deal for Jimmy Vesey could be one of those facepalm deals down the road.

So let’s circle back to perceived versus actual value. Vesey’s actual value is a bottom-six player. However it seems like he is on pace to be paid as a middle-six forward. That might be something the Blueshirts want to exploit in this rebuild. If his contract value is that high, then surely his trade value should be higher than his actual value as well.

I’m not going to sit here and attempt to guess what Vesey or a package with Vesey will fetch (it won’t get you Dahlin or the top-three, so don’t bother), but it’s something worth exploring. If he’s not a core player, there’s nothing to lose.

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  • If AV is let go then i would give Vesey – Buch – Hayes – Spooner one year under a new Coach and system .As i see it now AV is going to play Lias 4th line minutes ,but why pick at 7th for a 4th line player ,waste of a pick . They are available all year long at the cheap. Pionk if he builds up strength this Summer will be good to go next year Gilmour i,m on the fence about . Skjei can and will i hope be better next year. Smith is a mystery as of now ,can he get in shape and come back in Sept committed to the team . Staal is a dilemma and a problem going into next year if he is in the top six . Best case would be to play him as the 7th D man .
    We are going to have a lot of Dmen going into camp,
    LD Staal -Gilmour -O Gara – Day -Smith
    RD Pionk – ADA -Shatty -Sproul Lingren -Hajek
    Hope we can find a mix out of that group. As i see us now with out the draft which i hope we come away with a roster player or two , when the draft is over . Either by drafting a player that makes it out of camp or with a trade for a top six wing .Going to be an interesting summer ,so looking forward to Sept already

    • Waste of a pick? You’re judging the pick of the player because at 18/19 years old AV has him playing 4th line minutes in his first 5 games? Talk about impatience and the need for instant gratification.

      • Andersson is probably not the pick I’d have made at 7. That said, I have no issue with him playing fourth line minutes right now, either. It’s not at all the same as what AV has put Buchnevich through, for example. Right now, Lias has a bottom-6 skill set. That may change as he matures, but I also would have no issue with him being a fourth line center next season unless his style changes drastically this off-season. Lias is a solid player in the making so far in my eyes, but his natural ceiling may be two-way 3C – time will tell. I have disagreed with a number of AV’s deployment decisions especially in the last few years, but this is a situation that I’m fine with. Now, if AV is around next year and Lias starts getting sent to the Adam Clendening Memorial Suite undeservedly in lieu of players like Holland or Desharnais getting starts…I will have an issue with it if that happens.

        • I think it’s a bit early to limit his ceiling so much, we’re talking about a kid that just turned 19 and is still adjusting to the NA game (29 games?). I think he has 2c upside in the 50-55 point range, but what should set him apart from a lot of other players is the rest of his game — again, we’re talking upside for a young kid, don’t think we’ll see it for another couple of years at least (look how long it’s taken Hayes to show his “truer” worth).

          • I don’t mean to imply I think that 3C is his ceiling – just that it could be. I definitely would love to see him wade into legit 2C territory.

      • I agree how many players have you ever seen come to the Rangers as top 6 players PLAY their way from the 4th line to the 1st or 2nd. If you draft a player with skill he has to use that skill and use it a lot in order to get better. This is why you leave players in the minors. Players like Anderson. Are not going to get better playing 7 min a game with other players who will more then likely never make it past the 4h line.

    • I agree that we should give these guys a year under a new coach, provided they do not try to blow their contract demands beyond actual value (For Hayes, Vesey, Spooner, Vlad) so that we have the ability to trade them for value during after next season if they are deemed not part of the future.

      We need to build as deep a team as possible 1-12. Highly Skilled, Fast, and Hockey IQ. We will not be getting a generational talent in here any time soon unless we get really bad or really lucky we need to try and become a team without any holes.

      Assuming Zib,Hayes,Chytil,Lias are our Centers that roughly $12M Total We have the room to 1)see if Spooner and Vlad can become intergral Wingers that can fill in at C (something you cannot have enough of) and 2)How good Chytil and Lias can become with quality playing time and faith in a coach.

      We I disagree (completely) is in calling Lias a “waste of a pick”. WAY WAY WAY too early to pin that on a kid that is still potty training in the NHL as a teenager.

    • Outstanding breakdown without analytics to muck up the conversation for some of us oldtimers. Andersson was a poor selection at #7 and may turn into a decent Fast-type forward.
      Our scouting gurus and selections are an overall defect in the team’s management and the lousy performance in Hartford most years reflects the lack of depth in the organization…
      AV is a competent coach, but maybe the sand has run out on his tenure.
      The McDonough/Miller trade may be the new Ratelle/Park disaster…Middleton/Hodge???

  • As utilized by AV, Vesey is a third line player at best, maybe a fourth liner with a very talented lineup. If I’m the GM I’d offer $1.5 mil bridge contract for 3 years, so he has plenty of time to prove himself. If he doesn’t improve enough to warrant keeping him, well the contract would be easy enough to trade the guy!!!!

    Having said that, if an offer is made for the guy, and depending what we get in the way of a draft selection, and or UFA, there is absolutely no reason to keep him, I’d trade him……..

    • $1.5m per is too low to get 3 years out of him, I figure more like 1.6-1.75m per for 2 years or perhaps $5.5-5.8m total for 3.

  • Jimmy had a decent year resign him and put him with Hayes next season but if a deal comes up a good one trade him to get the value for him

  • I am all for moving him. He’s still young and has time to prove me wrong but I’m not bullish on him having a 4th year breakout in the next couple years.

    • I’m with you, I’ve never been a fan of Vesey’s game. He has good awareness around the net in the offensive zone, and decent hands, but little else. Doesn’t hit much but will go to the tough areas around the net. I don’t think he’s a good possession player either, in his case it’s not the system. Anything more than Grabner $$ is an overpay to keep him, and his goal totals at even strength make him an interesting asset in a trade.

  • I do believe we need to see this team in a new system to evaluate them going forward . Maybe it is the system and maybe it is the players , time will tell if AV is not running the show next year. Think if AV goes the rest of the staff should go also except for BA.

  • If somebody is willing to overpay to get him, by all means make the deal. I think you can say that about anybody on the team at this point. Let’s try and be realistic about all of our players, and follow the old maxim: buy low, sell high. Grabner is a great example of the “buy low” part, maybe Vesey can be an example of selling high.

  • I would actually look to optimize that trade value now and get something for him. He’s going to be 25 in May and although he has been fine I just don’t see him as an integral part of this team. He’s had good moments, but he also has not been very consistent. I suspect he will be looking for more than what Grabner got due to being a bit younger than Grabner at the time of signing.

  • To anyone out there on the Vesey train- I got a Vesey jersey for Christmas this year. Never worn, tags still on. Official jersey, Home blue, I believe men’s large.

    It was a gift so I cannot return it (no gift receipt). I would like to get what I can for it and put that towards another Ranger sweater.

    Any Vesey fans interested, please let me know.

  • I agree, Dave. Actually I would go further in general. Ignoring the complications of NMCs, I would not trade either Chityl or Pionk. I am not convinced that Chityl won’t be a mega-star and the fact that AV has treated Pionk as his #1 defenseman suggests there is something there that is not apparent to most people yet.

    OTHERWISE, I would trade anyone. It all depends on the return. Evaluate the value of each player and assess the trade value. If you can win a trade, you make it; if the player is undervalued by other teams, you keep him. One problem with a site like this is that the majority may tend to reflect the conventional wisdom. So we want to keep the players who have trade value and deal those that don’t.

  • Vesey is a player like others who sign in August somewhat overrated. However the reason isn’t his fault. In August there isn’t much going on in the hockey world so these signings become front page news when they shouldn’t be, it’s only because people are dying for hockey news of any kind. It’s not like he was a top 10 first round pick who didn’t sign with his team.
    I for one wish they would have these guys sign some time in July right after free agency. That would stop all the hype for these type of players.

  • I definitely believe Vesey’s perceived value is higher than his actual value compared to production. To me, he falls in that category where certain folks award him bonus points because he is a high-effort player; he literally looks like he is trying very, very hard. It’s not just limited to fans though, of course – there are GMs who are still the same way. “Motor” is a big favorite of those who appreciate the NHL style of days gone by.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a high-effort player, mind you…but that can only take one so far. I feel Vesey also gets a lot of credit for being willing to play the boards and go to the corners, which again is not a bad thing… but he’s not really anything more than average in those areas of the game. Willing to do the dirty work is step one, and he’s got that in spades. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, I just don’t think he is above NHL average in most facets of the skill realm – actually a bit below in some areas, and advanced metrics seem to confirm that.

    I don’t personally think he is more than a bottom six guy. Much like Fast, I don’t really want to see him in the top six when it isn’t a necessity due to injury, because he doesn’t actually create much offense. He is opportunistic, yes, and has had his games like his hat trick where you see a bit of overachieving translating to results…but that isn’t the norm.

    I honestly fully expect Vesey to get more than many of the metrics say he is worth if the Rangers retain him. With that said, he’s also not a guy I could really see the bottom falling out, because his game is so “meat and potatoes”. In that vein, I can live with a slight overpay, because I don’t see him having some of the struggles that players who are much more heavily built on speed or skill can have when they have a minor injury or their head gets a little foggy, etc., and then that turns into a terrible contract. I just don’t want to see him get paid for the reputation or projection he had coming out of college (which I also agree was a certain percentage pure hype of the timing and situation), because that just isn’t really who he has become at the NHL level.

  • Just curious on how to interpret this chart. Understand most of the measures except FIRSTA. What does that mean? Is it a “possession” measure?
    Beyond that:
    Goals: Vessey is 25% higher than average 4th line winger. Suspect that is “statistically significant”.
    Shot generation:He is lower but is this an INDIVIDUAL # or team #? Either way, are his #s impacted by team mates (who might not be strong)?
    Shot suppression: Same issue
    FIRSTA: Same issue

    It is clear you are not a big fan of Vessey and you may be correct but I think he may be used incorrectly as a 4th liner with inferior line mates (and D men).


    • FIRSTA is first assists. Not all assists are factored into a HERO chart; only the direct helpers. As for the goals, he gets more TOI than the average fourth-liner, to note. He is below average in all other areas.

      HERO charts don’t usually lie. Vesey has not played statistically-sound hockey, and 4th line probably is where he should be on the top half of teams in the league. Like Fast, AV seems to have taken a shine to him, so he spends more time higher up the lines than he probably should.

  • I think based on the hype and the (perceived) anticipation of what Vesey could have provided for this team he has become somewhat of a disappointment. Whether this is system related I’m not sure. But he goes to the net, gets his nose dirty and will put the puck past the goalie, I like his game and would like him on this team. But at a reasonable price. There’s more coming, I think, a new system (coach) may help.

  • Vesey got a lot of hype when he signed a couple of years ago. To me, he is a 24 year old average NHL player. At 6′ 3″ he doesn’t hit or play that physical for his size. His skill level is average at best. 30 points a year simply doesn’t cut it. I don’t see him as much more then that. I would see what we could get in a trade and pull the trigger if the deal is decent. Maybe even package him in a deal.

  • Here is my unwanted 2 cents. Vesey is not made for AV’s system. He is a park in front of the net slap in the garbage player. I call him the pat verbeek of this generation. Nothing spectacular about him but nothing detrimental either. He can keep up with today’s speed and has the hands to do some damage in front but what he lacks in his game is size. If he is going forward with this style he must get much bigger. I am talking like 30 or 40 pounds bigger. That might be a bit of a leap but you guys get my point. Net front presence is big on this team …not a whole lot going on there except for krieder. Nash while he was here just never seemed to muster the grit to do it. So vesey could definitely carve out a nice little niche for himself. He is a player you need to see for 40 or 50 games next year before you give him a solid contract. But I sure we will sign him for 5 yrs and 5 million a year cause we give all the good contracts in this league. Go Sather!

    • Verbeek? How about Dave Balon??? Am I dating myself? Lol … I would have loved to have seen a 7, or so, game audition of Vesey on the top line (in place of Fast). It might have been interesting to see him get the increased TOI and how his play around the net would translate into possible “garbage goals”.

      Granted, Kreider was visible around the net this season, but his first line minutes dwarfed Vesey’s time. Vesey has the skills to become an above average hockey player (very evident IMHO). I think increased playing time and responsibilities would do wonders for his game AND confidence.

      • Cat

        Dave Balon died much too young of MS, but will be fondly remembered skating with Walt Tkchuck on the Bull Dog line! What a name to pull out of your hat, love it!!!!!!!!!

        • Yea Walt…
          His disease affected his career unfortunately. Fun player on a fun line. The third member of that line escapes me, I can see his face but not his name.

        • Walt Tkachuk was my favorite player as a kid growing up. One of the best 2 way centers in the League for a few years. For me he embodied what hockey was back then.

          • Tanto

            As well as me for that matter. That team, and era was my all time favorite with the GAG line, Walt and the Bulldog line, Stemmer with Irvin, and Mc Gregor, with that defense, how many great memories of that era. The only thing between us and the cup was Boston, with Orr and company, and Montreal with Dryden and that group!!!!

    • Jimmy Vesey is nothing like Pat Verbeek; Verbeek was by far a better player than Vesey ever will be. Vesey is lefty, 6’3”, 210 lbs, and mediocre. Verbeek was righty, 5’9”, 190 lbs, and excellent. Verbeek scored over 500 goals in the NHL, played over 1400 games, won a Cup, and played for 19 seasons. Verbeek was also a top 6 player for 75% of his career. Vesey doesn’t compare to Verbeek in any way, except that their last name starts with “V”. You could make a case that’s it’s actually slander to compare an outstanding NHL’er like Pat Verbeek to an overhyped bottom-6’er like Jimmy Vesey.

    • 30-40 pounds? You’ll ruin Vesey. He’s 206 now … sure he needs more strength AND maybe another 6-9 pounds … anything more over a summer and he’ll start resembling a pylon.

  • Back to Vesey. He really needs to work on his shot. He has the slowest release on the team…in fact, its not an NHL calibur shot at all. Many times hes forced to pass from the dots in because of his shot, and the league knows it.

  • I think the story is a little more complex. I generally agree that at evens his advanced shot metrics are pretty shitty in comparison to his teammates on an AV team that does not generate shots (-1.42% relCF),

    But what is weird is that for all Rangers this season, he is seventh on the team in WAR as per Corsica (which also rates Holden as a caveat). He is also FOURTH on the team in terms of ixGF/60 after only Chytil (wow he is good), Nash, and Grabner.

    My kind of take is that he has a nose for the goal but he needs to be in the right set-up to excel. I’ve personally never rated him, but am just a bit surprised by this production and some of these metrics responding positively to his game.

  • YOU ALL ARE KILLING ME. In a season like this. Where just about ever player on this team took a step backwards. You are gonna sit there and judge a 24 year old player who hasn’t even played two seasons. And not even 30 games in a season with the same line mates??? Vesey is one of our most intense players. In players faces just about every game. He is at least a 20-25 goal scorer on a better team. This team was pathetic this year, Top to bottom.

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