Yesterday a pair of rumors broke, and it was probably the worst timing because of course I was out all day and couldn’t sit and write about it. But hey, it gives me Sunday content, right?
In case you missed it, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Buffalo Sabres are big on Jimmy Vesey and are calling the Rangers about their winger. Larry Brooks also noted that the Jacob Trouba sweepstakes are heating up between the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders.
1. Let’s start with Trouba, since that’s going to be the one that has a lot of folks up in arms. Brooks mentioned that the sweepstakes are heating up, and it may cost the Rangers the #20 pick, RFA Pavel Buchnevich, and last year’s first round pick Nils Lundkvist. Suffice it to say, that’s a lot and it may not even be enough.
2. If that’s the cost for Trouba, it’s a hard pass from me. I get that Jeff Gorton wants to accelerate the rebuild, but that’s not the way to do it. Plus, Colin Miller is arguably better and will be significantly cheaper. Gorton will need to be shrewd and calculating to accelerate the rebuild, not fall for big names with big prices. That kind of deal doesn’t move the Rangers forward, even with Artemi Panarin.
3. The more I look at it, the more I want to pass on Trouba. There. I said it.
4. On to Vesey, whom the Sabres are rumored to be heavily interested in. We’ve been talking a lot about how the Rangers need to dump some middle/bottom-six guys, and Vesey was one of the targets to unload. That’s not to say Vesey isn’t useful, since he’s a 15-20 goal scorer who provides tertiary scoring on the bottom-six. That said, he’s getting expensive –$2.275 million this year and due a RFA raise next season– and he doesn’t do much else, especially away from the puck. These are the kinds of mistakes you look to avoid. It’s about getting value from your bottom-six, not overpaying to keep players around.
5. As for price from Buffalo, I really don’t know what they can offer from their roster. Vesey won’t get much in terms of prospects or picks, maybe next year’s 2nd rounder? This year’s 3rd? That’s really all I can see Buffalo offering for a bottom-six winger. Then again, Buffalo gonna Buffalo, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they did Sam Reinhart straight up (I’m being facetious).
6. Maybe there’s a trade up scenario here with Alex Georgiev. Are Vesey and Georgiev enough to get the #31 outright? Likely not. The Sabres don’t have their 2nd rounder this year so that complicates things. This also assumes they aren’t sold on Carter Hutton, whom they just acquired from St. Louis last year. There’s certainly a trade to be made here, but I wonder if it’s just a low-key roster clearing move for the Rangers. That’s fine by me, since the Rangers need to clear up bottom-six space for cheaper and more skilled players anyway. In most roster projections, Vesey is barely on the fourth line.