2019 Player Report Card: Jimmy Vesey

Continuing with our report cards, we move on to Jimmy Vesey. The middle-six forward is a bit of a utility man for the Rangers, playing as high as the second line and as low as the fourth line. Vesey is perceived as a blue collar defensive guy who can chip in 15 goals regularly. He is certainly deployed that way.

Vesey tied or set career highs in all offensive categories this year with 17 goals (tied), 18 assists (new career high), and 35 points (new high). The 25 year old winger has another year left on his deal at $2.275 million, and is a popular trade bait candidate in an effort to upgrade the blue line.

This year, Vesey’s struggles away from the puck continued. He was closer to the bottom of the roster than the top in xGF% (10th – 45.88, or 8th if you remove Zuccarello/Hayes). Vesey actually drives offense better than most on the team, he was 3rd in xGF/60 at 2.51, and 2nd if you remove Zuccarello/Hayes. That’s not only very good, but very surprising. He is going against the grain here in terms of perceived value on the ice.

As for his defensive play, where he supposedly has value, it just isn’t there. Vesey is 14th on the team (12th without Hayes/Zucc) in xGA/60 at a terrible 2.96. That means for every 60 minutes, Vesey is expected to give up 3 goals against while on the ice. He wasn’t exactly playing tough competition anyway, as that was reserved for the KZB line, who constantly drew the tougher competition. Suffice it to say, Vesey just isn’t good away from the puck.

Since we are openly pointing out that Vesey is bad away from the puck, let’s focus on the positives, and that is Vesey is good at crashing the net, where the majority of his shots come from.

This is something you want to see from Vesey, a guy who may not be the most skilled, but will do the dirty work in front of the net. He’s no Chris Kreider, but he’s at least willing to go there. We also see an improvement in overall shots taken with Vesey on the ice:

Compared to him off the ice:

He doesn’t move the needle much, but the threat level is a net change of 6%, so that’s good. The Blueshirts do get more chances in front, specifically on the right side of the net mouth, which is where Vesey gets the majority of his shots. He doesn’t do much once he gets outside 10 feet of the net, though.

We do need to talk about his defensive issues, though, and I’m a big fan of shot heatmaps. Here’s how the Rangers are when Vesey is off the ice:

 

You can see the usual issues, but take note of the left circle, which is where Vesey would play in David Quinn’s 2-1-2 zone scheme in the defensive zone. And now when he’s on the ice:

There’s a huge difference here. Not just in the threat level, which is a 15% jump with him on the ice, but there is significantly more amount of red in that left circle area. The concern is less about the shots that are coming between the boards and the dot, but there is still a larger than league average difference as we get closer to the high slot, which is bad. Vesey just doesn’t defend that well.

Based on expectations, Vesey exceeded them offensively. It’s tough to argue that a 17-18-35 point guy while playing mostly bottom-six minutes is a bad investment. However Vesey just isn’t good defensively. There are many arguments why the Rangers should look to trade him, but this post is about evaluating his play this year. He exceeded expectations offensively, but is just not good defensively. He is what he is at this point.

Grade: B-.

"2019 Player Report Card: Jimmy Vesey", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.

6 thoughts on “2019 Player Report Card: Jimmy Vesey

  • Apr 21, 2019 at 11:55 am
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    I think Vesey can learn to be better defensively. He is a supporting cast type of player. They come and go guys like Vesey. He’s young and cheap right now tho. Vesey is a guy I’d keep until I had no room in my lineup for him.

  • Apr 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm
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    If a decent offer is made at the draft for Jimmy, I think he would be traded.

  • Apr 21, 2019 at 12:46 pm
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    Decent on the PK but not overall on D. He’ll be easier to trade than Strome or Names because of $. No way all 3 of them are on the opening night roster. Maybe a combo trade with Pionk or Shatty nets is a good pick in next years stacked draft.

  • Apr 21, 2019 at 2:07 pm
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    The tough competition was reserved for the KZB line? If that were true, the Rangers should have been great since the KZB line played a whopping 123 minutes even strength and so the opposition saved their best players for a line that mostly didn’t exist. BTW, they produced a fabulous 4 goals for in that time. The true primary line this season was KZZ, which played for 240 minutes and scored 21 goals. In fact, the KZF line played more than KZB (and was more effective as well).

    • Apr 21, 2019 at 5:31 pm
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      That’s interesting, if true, very!

      I like Vesey and agree we should keep him, till we can’t. I mean, he’s young, he can still improve right?

      Patience, please, just a little patience.

  • Apr 21, 2019 at 6:56 pm
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    2 of 3 need to go, of Vesey, Strome, and Names, and if I had to choose which stays, then it would be Strome.

    Vesey looks great at times and invisible at times, which means when he’s not scoring goals, he’s not doing much of anything else. He’s not a complete player at all. Bye.

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