With rumors swirling that Jimmy Vesey could be coming to the New York Rangers, let’s take a quick look at what fans could realistically expect from the Harvard product.
It has been exactly one month since NHL free agency commenced and it has certainly been a hectic one. Per usual, most of the free agents were employed within hours of hitting the open market. The New York Rangers made some efficient moves, but they weren’t heavily involved in this year’s free agency sweepstakes.
However, they may not be done yet.
The Rangers apparently are extremely interested in former Harvard sensation Jimmy Vesey. Vesey, who can’t negotiate with any team until August 15 (besides the Buffalo Sabres), is expected to test the market after having his rights traded away by the Nashville Predators this summer.
Many signs point to Vesey possibly coming to the Big Apple. Vesey’s primary agent, Peter Fish, is close with Blueshirts’ general manager Jeff Gorton, which could be vital in luring the Crimson product to New York. In addition, Fish represented former Rangers’ captain and current director of player development Chris Drury.
Gorton could also play the Kevin Hayes card. Hayes was in the same situation just two years ago and Gorton could show Vesey how Hayes became a full-time NHL player right away. The Boston College product would also be able to groom Vesey and help him adjust to life in New York.
Another factor that applies to wherever he signs is that he carries a minuscule cap hit. Since he is a rookie he would only make $925,000, which is extremely attractive to Jeff Gorton and company considering the Rangers have roughly $3 million in cap space.
The Blueshirts would clearly be a great match for Vesey and only add to the Rangers deep group of forwards.
There certainly is no guarantee that Vesey will be sporting Broadway Blue this upcoming season as there are many teams vying for his signature, but let’s say hypothetically that Jeff Gorton is able to sway Vesey into inking a deal with the Rangers.
How would he fit in with Alain Vigneault’s squad and what could Rangers fans realistically expect out of the Massachusetts native?
Lets first take a look at what he did with the Crimson. The kid was no joke in college. He was solid throughout his four-year career at Harvard, including posting 104 points in 70 games during his junior and senior seasons, respectively. Vesey was rewarded for his efforts with the Hobey Baker Award this year, which honors the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player.
So there isn’t a question of whether the talent is there or not because it surely is. But where would he fit in with the Blueshirts?
Well if we examine the Rangers potential 12 forwards, Vesey would start on the second or third line. Barring a big trade, Rick Nash will likely open the year on the top line as the right winger.
After that is where it gets interesting. Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller can be penciled in on the second line for now, but most fans know that those two have disappeared for stretches of games in the past. Vesey would likely fill in when either of them struggles.
He may also find himself on the power play this year if he decides to join the Blueshirts. His big frame would be great in front of the net combined with his natural goal scoring ability.
The other question about Vesey is what fans could realistically expect out of the talented young player. Many project that the 23-year-old will be a top six forward right away, but would likely start on the third line this year along with the aforementioned Hayes and former Toronto Maple Leaf Michael Grabner.
A good comparison for Vesey would be Chris Kreider. Kreider’s a big player who should use his size more than he does, which is very similar to Vesey. Vesey did have better numbers in college, so some would say he has more hype than Kreider, but you see where I am going here.
The Rangers are in desperate need of young talent. The recent trades of Martin St. Louis, Keith Yandle, and Eric Staal have depleted the Rangers of a lot of draft picks and young prospects, like Anthony Duclair. If Jeff Gorton could add a guy like Vesey, it would not only help the Rangers now but also in the future.