Jimmy Vesey’s growing role with the Rangers
Now in his third full season in the NHL, the once highly-touted Harvard product seems to finally be coming into his own. He’s set career high across the board this season, still with 21 games to play. His new found success could be in part to the change of leader – as David Quinn is quick to pull young guys out of the lineup, but also quick to give them their shot in the top six.
That is where Jimmy Vesey will often find himself for the rest of the year; playing wing on the Rangers top line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. That was Mats Zuccarello’s spot up until he was shipped off to Dallas, but now Quinn has rewarded Vesey with top line minutes. In three games on the top line, Vesey has posted three straight two point games, tallying a goal and an assist in all of those contests. With nine points in his last ten games, the only question that is raised is can Jimmy Vesey play a big part in this Rangers team going forward?
In his first two years in the league, Vesey couldn’t reach the 30 point mark in almost a full season of play. Now at 34 points in 62 games, his numbers are still less than expected, but his overall play is more noticeable.
A healthy scratch in early January, Vesey seems to have responded well to the harsh coaching style of David Quinn. The turnover of the team will only help Vesey, too. At 25 years old, Vesey finds himself as a “veteran” amongst a young forward group. The Rangers are expected to give plenty of their young forwards a shot in the next year or so, and since Vesey is signed through next year (at a more than reasonable $2.275 million), Vesey may solidify himself as a top-six forward for the next 100 games of play. That is if his production stays the course, or close to it.
The other option with Jimmy Vesey will be the same which saw plenty of Rangers shipped out of town. But trading Vesey is not worth it. Let’s assume Vesey finishes the year crossing the 20 goal mark and moves into the 40’s on total points scored. The most the Rangers could potentially get for trading Vesey in the offseason would be a late-round pick. Vesey would cross into the 40 points for the first time in his career, and at just 25 years old, he’s much more valuable to a rebuilding Ranger team then trading him away for a worthless draft pick.
I don’t see the Rangers trading Vesey, if they would have I could have seem them packaging him in a trade last week with Hayes or Zuccarello. Jimmy Vesey will be given all the chances in the world to play in the top-six under David Quinn, something that he never had with former coach Alain Vigneault.
Flourishing Under Quinn
Not to put the blame on the Rangers former head coach Alain Vigneault, but he wasn’t the warmest to the younger players on his team. He was quick to bench the young guys if they made a mistake. Under Quinn, Vesey’s ice time increase shows the difference in handling young players.
In his two years playing under Vigneault, Vesey averaged 13 minutes of ice time per night. Now, under Quinn, Vesey averages north of 16 minutes per night. It could be the fact that Vesey is playing on a younger team so he is given more of an opportunity, but I’d argue that the style of coaches plays a bigger role.
Under Quinn I believe Vesey can turn into the player the Rangers imagined out of Harvard, or at least close to that player. If I had to take a guess, I’d predict that we see a lot of Jimmy Vesey is the box scores for the year to come, along with seeing him playing in the top-six and on the power play. Although his stats won’t make him stand out, his play on the ice is increasing and under David Quinn, Jimmy Vesey will thrive.