Ah, to re-sign, or not to re-sign. That is the question! The offseason is slowly approaching and the Rangers will have four restricted free agents that they will have a chance to sign, or trade. Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, John Gilmour, and Brady Skjei. In the coming days and weeks, the writers at Forever Blueshirts will make pitches whether or not to include one of these RFAs in the team’s future plans. In this edition, I will focus on Jimmy Vesey.
Jimmy Vesey was drafted 66th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2012, and when the Predators realized Vesey was not going to sign with the team, they traded his rights to the Buffalo Sabres. Vesey became a free agent on August 16th, 2016, and after being pursued by eight teams, signed with the Rangers three days later.
Jimmy Vesey won the Hobby Baker Award for an outstanding college performance after he posted 57 points in 36 games in 2015 where he helped the Harvard Crimson win the ECAC Hockey Tournament championship.
Jimmy Vesey was the most coveted college free agent in 2016, and he became so popular, that a campaign to recruit him was initiated.
Vesey’s entry level-contract was worth a maximum of $925,000 a season, with $1,925,000 in performance bonuses. After signing a large entry-level contract, Vesey had high expectations placed on him heading into the 2016-17 season.
In his first season, Vesey scored 16 goals and added 11 assists for 27 points. Now in his second season, Vesey has netted 11 goals, and 7 assists, totaling 18 points.
Vesey averages a little over 13 minutes per game and has been playing on the third line. My favorite aspect of Vesey’s game is his tenacity. Vesey has needed several cosmetic adjustments this season, and that’s a testament to his play. Vesey isn’t afraid to throw around his body, which is a rarity on this Rangers team and brings his all to every shift, using his 6’4″ frame to his advantage.
Vesey’s stats are not too crazy, and you can expect Vesey to contribute offensively, but he is not a player you sign primarily for scoring.
One stat of Vesey’s that stands out is his plus/minus rating of -30 in his two NHL seasons. Vesey does have to improve defensively. However, he is still young at 24 and has room to improve his overall game.
Final verdict: Vesey is a player that you have to re-sign. He brings an element of physicality that the Rangers lack and desperately need, and he can contribute offensively. The Rangers should look to re-sign Vesey, for three years at $2.5 million with performance bonuses. I believe that his base salary is correct for his performances in the last two seasons. Vesey would also have a chance to earn performance bonuses, so if he does improve, he will be rewarded. Moneypucksystems.com values Vesey at $2.9 million per season when signed for three years.