Has Vinni Lettieri Played His Final Game With The Rangers?
With all of the moves the Rangers have made since releasing what has become known simply as “The Letter“, some players get lost in the shuffle. One of those players is 24-year-old forward, Vinni Lettieri. Since joining the organization, the Minnesotan has spent the majority of his time with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. And with the Rangers bringing in a ton of highly skilled youngsters, perhaps Lettieri has played his final game with this Original-Six franchise.
When you look at Lettieri’s game, his biggest asset is his shot. As Dobber Prospects’ Brayden Olafson said of the prospect: “Lettieri’s shoot-first mentality and right-hand shot remain a rare commodity in the team’s pool and will keep him relevant as a prospect for the time being.” Unfortunately, it would as though that time has come and gone. From a pure skill standpoint, Lettieri relies on his ability to shoot the puck. But if Lettieri isn’t able to get the puck into the back of the net, his value plummets faster than Wile E. Coyote tethered to an anvil. And with Lettieri’s ceiling being that of a fourth-liner, he doesn’t add a whole lot of value as a regular in David Quinn’s lineup.
Taking it to a macro-level analysis, Lettieri has two other things working against him. First and foremost, he is a restricted free agent. Is Lettieri worth bringing back as a low-cost, call-up option from Hartford? Definitely. But that doesn’t mean he is going to have much of a future with the big club.
Secondly, there just isn’t room for Lettieri on the NHL roster. If you look at the team’s depth chart, the right-wing is full of talent. Aside from Pavel Buchnevich, who is also a restricted free agent, the Rangers have youngsters Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, and Jesper Fast all under contract. Assuming Buchnevich is signed, and that is a pretty safe assumption, Lettieri would be fighting for a spot in Quinn’s lineup as the team’s 13th forward. And with the team having acquired other young and talented wingers – Leevi Aaltonen and Lauri Pajuniemi to name a couple – Lettieri is going to be the odd man out.
Lettieri was signed by the Rangers as an undrafted college free agent back in March of 2017 and has shown some brief glimpses of what he could do with some ice time. That being said, Lettieri clearly hasn’t done enough to impress the Rangers front office. In 46 NHL games, Lettieri has registered eight points (2G, 6A) while playing mostly fourth-line minutes, and he’s registered 85 points (46G, 39A) in 112 AHL games, so perhaps he does deserve another shot with the Blueshirts. In this writer’s opinion, however, the Vinni Lettieri experiment is over.