Finding the ideal role for Jimmy Vesey has proven tougher than initially thought

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Rangers are going to be sellers at the trade deadline.

Ok I’m not listening to you guys trying to stop me, because while we’ve been discussing –almost ad naseam– about Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and Adam McQuaid, one player that may fetch a decent haul is getting overlooked, and that is Jimmy Vesey.

Vesey, who signed his two-years, $2.275 million bridge deal this summer, has been playing middle-six minutes for the Rangers since his arrival. He’s broken the 15-goal mark in each of his first two seasons, and will likely do so this season. He’s a guy that can fill in very nicely on a team that needs a scoring threat on the third line.

But here’s a dirty little secret: Vesey is actually pretty bad without the puck. His relative xGF% of his three NHL seasons (in order): -6.97, -2.72, -4.74. So while he’s a 15-20 goal scorer each of his first three seasons, his perceived reputation as a solid middle-six with scoring touch is a tad overblown.

The good thing is that much like Jeff Gorton, there are many NHL GMs that probably view Vesey as a solid tertiary scoring player who can provide “solid grit and depth.” As we’ve seen with Brian Boyle, who fetched a second round pick from Nashville, there’s value there, even if it’s only perceived value.

On his own, Vesey can probably bring back a Brian Boyle-esque (2nd round pick) return. However in a package deal, say included in a deal with Hayes, that may be the difference between a solid prospect and a very good prospect. Perhaps he’s the difference in moving up a round in a draft pick acquired? You never know. The fact that he’s not a pure rental may actually help in this regard, since he’s still cost-controlled and under just 25 years old.

Vesey’s the kind of player that always seems to get moved at the deadline because teams need to either fill out their depth, replace injured players, or just panic and want a somewhat known quantity. NHL GMs do crazy things. Or perhaps I just have rose colored glasses on.


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