After a long thought out process, Jimmy Vesey chose the New York Rangers earlier this afternoon. The decision became official just before 6 PM. He signed an entry level contract and will be the newest Blueshirt added to a retool that includes top prospect Pavel Buchnevich and key acquisition Mika Zibanejad. All are talented forwards 23 or younger.
Added to a core featuring Derek Stepan (26), Chris Kreider (25) and J.T. Miller (23), the Rangers feature plenty of young talent capable of keeping them in the mix. Rick Nash is the elder statesman at 32 and Mats Zuccarello will turn 29 before training camp. Swedes Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg are each 23.
So, there’s a lot to like about what they have up front. General Manager Jeff Gorton also added solid fourth liners Josh Jooris, Michael Grabner and Nathan Gerbe. All of who have speed and can help improve a bad penalty killing unit which ranked near the bottom. A sore spot that got exposed against the ultra talented Penguins in a one sided first round.
As for Vesey, now that the 23-year old from Harvard University is here, expectations could be high. This is a left wing with speed and the ability to finish. The Hobey Baker winner tallied 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 33 games in the ECAC as a senior. That followed up a breakout junior season that saw him notch 32 goals with 26 helpers for 58 points in 37 contests.
The key with any young player is for the organization to remain patient. Let’s find out how he looks in camp which includes practices and team scrimmages. It’s so easy to be unrealistic about what Vesey might bring. There’s so much excitement on Twitter that it borders on absurd. So many celebrities helped recruit him. The fans expect the world. Let’s wait and see what he becomes before projecting too high.
Most young players take time to develop. As we have discovered with Hayes, Kreider and Miller, there are peaks and valleys. Don’t forget Hayes made a similar jump from college to the NHL after not signing with the Blackhawks. It was the Rangers who landed him. He had a very good rookie year finishing strong. His second year was underwhelming. He’ll enter Year 3 with increased expectations and responsibilities with Derick Brassard gone.
I’ll conclude this post with one final thought. As much as #VeseyWatch annoyed me, I’m glad it finally ended. That the Rangers landed him can be viewed as positive. I just hope our fans are patient. It might not happen right away. If he can make the roster and start on the third line, that would be a good start.
Hopefully, that great genius coach of ours doesn’t screw around. Either way, we’ll see what Vesey can add to the team. See you in October.