New York Rangers’ winger Jimmy Vesey has been given every opportunity to prove himself, and that does not seem like it is going to change.
2017-18 was a disappointing season for many Rangers, including Vesey. He was expected to have a big sophomore campaign following an impressive rookie season in 2016-17 where he scored 27 points (16-11-27). The problem is, his numbers did not improve one bit during the 2017-18 with 28 points (17-11-28).
Vesey seemed like the only young player that former head coach Alain Vigneault trusted to play big-time minutes. In his first two seasons, he saw action playing on the top line with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan or Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes. He was given every opportunity to succeed but did not.
In 2018-19, Vesey and his role were up in the air. With the Blueshirts’ going in a youth direction, there were plenty of spots up in the air and competition all around. Vesey had to come in and prove that he was worth the contract they gave him. The club gave him a two-year bridge deal with a $2.27 million AAV expecting him to take the next step.
But, Vesey failed to live up to those expectations and really was missing all throughout the preseason. Thinking about the competition going on throughout camp, you would think his role would be somewhat limited at the start of the season? Wrong.
— Dom Renna (@drennaESNY) September 28, 2018
Yes, you read that correctly, Vesey has been practicing on the team’s second line. What makes this even more bizarre, is that Quinn is going with him over the likes of Vladislav Namestnikov. A guy who, despite his struggles in New York, scored 48 points and has more upside offensively.
But wait, it gets even better.
A glimpse at the #NYR PP units at prax today:
PP2: Vesey (Lettieri)-Hayes-Zuccarello
— Dom Renna (@drennaESNY) September 30, 2018
That’s right, Vesey is also seeing time on the second power play unit. Yes, he is seeing time over Namestnikov (again), and even the skilled rookie Filip Chytil.
What we are seeing here is that, like Vigneault, David Quinn is going to give Vesey every opportunity to succeed. Now, this is something you like to see coming from Quinn, who is known for communicating and developing. But, the difference here is that Vesey is not the player that fans thought he would be. He is not the player who will go out there and score you 25-to-30 goals.
He simply is a third liner at best. A player that can fill in on your second line when your team is going through some injury woes. A player who has the skill, but has shown that he has not yet been able to put it together. He is the player that struggled mightily throughout the month of October last year when he scored just three points.
Quinn can give Vesey all the chances he wants, but until Vesey goes out there and proves he is more than a third liner, his line will struggle. The team will struggle. If Quinn truly is about getting better on a daily basis, then this combination with Vesey on the second line and Namestnikov on the fourth will only last a week.
Or Vesey can prove us wrong and come out a different player in 2018-19. The only thing we know is that he will be given every opportunity to do just that.