Jimmy Vesey making most of second tour with New York Rangers

Hard working forward Jimmy Vesey is making the most out of his second time around with the New York Rangers.

The 29 year-old made an impression on head coach Gerard Gallant in exhibition. Enough so, as to turn a Professional Tryout into a standard one-year deal worth $750,000.

“I didn’t know much about Jimmy but he came to camp and earned a contract,” Gerard Gallant said after Vesey scored twice against the Leafs on Thursday. “He’s playing well on different lines, different positions, and doing a good job on the PK. Tonight was a huge game for him and our team.”

Jimmy Vesey making the most of it with Rangers

jimmy vesey new york rangers
Dec 15, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Vesey was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2012 but did not sign an entry-level contract becoming a free agent out of college. He began his NHL career by signing with the Rangers 2016-17. He spent three seasons on Broadway registering 50 goals and 90 points in 240 games before being bounced around the league.

His first pitstop was with the Buffalo Sabres after the Rangers traded him there in 2019 for a third-round pick in the 2021 draft (Jayden Grubbe). From there, he made additional stops in Toronto, Vancouver and New Jersey over six seasons.

“He’s highly competitive and wants to win hockey games,” Chris Kreider said. “He was awesome the last time around too. He’s confident in what we can bring to the table and we enjoy having him.”

This season, Vesey has garnered 11 points (5G – 6A) in 30 games while averaging 13:25 a night. What really stands out about him in his second tour, aside from obviously being more mature both physically and mentally, is his play without the puck.

“When I first came into the league, if I wasn’t playing with puck it was a nothing game,” Vesey said. “I’m good tracking back into our (defensive) zone. Good on the penalty kill and blocking shots. It gets you involved and feeling like you’re contributing to the game.”

Of course, that wasn’t his game at all breaking into the league. The promising NCAA star was projected to be a top six forward but struggled to meet those expectations. After fizzling out with the Sabres he understood the need to change his style of play.

Over the next few seasons, he focused on defense and killing penalties. Being offensively adept doesn’t hurt as he managed to record two shorthanded goals with the Devils in 68 games in 2021-22.

His ability to kill penalties was one of the biggest reasons the Rangers took a chance on him. GM Chris Drury needed to replace the role that Tyler Motte had on the PK and he’s doing it for for less money.

“First few games (this season) I was getting my feet wet,” Vesey explained. “Since then I’ve been steady and felt good about my game all year.”

There’s no doubt that Vesey, who will be a UFA, is taking advantage of his current situation looking to parlay that into a multi-year deal in July.

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