New York Rangers sophomore Jimmy Vesey has had a somewhat quiet season. Is there still a place for him on the team as the rebuilding begins?
Jimmy Vesey, 24, is about to conclude his second full season with the New York Rangers. He has shown signs of brilliance on the ice, and he has also shown his invisibility for long stretches of time this season.
Vesey, as with most of the Rangers forwards, has had an up-and-down season. He has played on many different lines, and that instability has caused Vesey to slow down in scoring and in his overall play. In Vesey’s first year with the Rangers, Rick Nash took him under his wing and Vesey flourished.
He was producing goals, killing penalties and getting late-game minutes. With 16 goals, 11 assists for 27 points in 80 games played, Vesey had a successful rookie year. In the playoffs he played in 12 games, scoring one goal and had five points.
As the 2017-18 season began, expectations were high for the second-year professional.
Vesey was only paired up with Nash for a handful of times this year prior to his trade to Boston. He bounced around on different line combinations, primarily playing with Mats Zuccarello. Once the rebuild was announced, Vesey needed to get his game back in gear. The acquisition of center Vladislav Namestnikov has brought Vesey’s game back to life. He has played on Namestnikov’s wing since the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline in February. In that period of time, Vesey has scored four goals, with several more scoring chances. He has seemed to have an extra step in his game, as he tries to get more involved in the play instead of just watching what is going on around him.
Top shelf beauty. One of three for @19Vesey. What a night for the kid. pic.twitter.com/PDaoMc8BoL
— NHL (@NHL) March 13, 2018
Vesey has to outshine a lot of the players that are equal to him in skill, size, and agility. The Rangers have 10 games left to play on this disappointing season and he is going to need to use these games to show why general manager Jeff Gorton should not attempt to trade him once the playoffs draw to a close. This team is loaded with third and fourth line style of players. Added to that dilemma is the fact the Rangers are anticipating having one, if not both, of Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil when camp opens next season.
Vesey needs to show why he is the player better to remain with the team as opposed to Paul Carey, Peter Holland, and Cody McLeod.
Vesey has come a long way in a very short time. Though he is not the leader of the team, his work ethic precedes itself. He is a smart player who understands what is going on around the team, especially with the way the Rangers have played this year.
"It’s something I’ll always remember." @19Vesey meets with the media after scoring his first NHL hat trick in tonight's #NYR win over the Hurricanes. pic.twitter.com/b8WqFnzGca
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 13, 2018
Following his hat trick against the Carolina Hurricanes on Mar. 12, Vesey spoke with the New York Rangers official Twitter account, saying,
“I think just in general the mood is always better when you win. Everyone is in higher spirits. No one is going to take it easy on us just because we have a young lineup or anything like that. We can’t feel bad for ourselves. We have to go out and play with passion and pride every night. I think we’ve done a good job of that lately.”
A third-round draft pick (66th overall) of the Nashville Predators in the 2011 NHL Draft, Vesey never signed with the Predators and became an unrestricted player able to sign with any team that wanted him. The Rangers won out on the selection process and Vesey was able to jump right in after a successful career at Harvard.
Vesey once again has some pressure on him to perform and keep the spot in the Rangers lineup he earned last year. The kid has a lot of heart and fight in him. Let’s hope he finds that edge in his game and can continue to help the Rangers get back to the playoffs in the near future.