The once prized college free agent Jimmy Vesey is now entering his second season in the NHL. With a new year, higher expectations have been set for the former Hobey Baker winner. The Rangers should expect a lot from the 24-year-old.
Jimmy Vesey had a solid rookie season. While he certainly did not play like Auston Matthews, Vesey contributed enough to propel the New York Rangers into a comfortable spot in the Eastern Conference.
Last season, Vesey recorded 16 goals and added 11 assists for a solid 27 point total on the year. Again, his play was not comparable in any sense to any of the finalists for the Calder trophy, but the little things he does makes him a valuable asset to the Rangers.
What to expect
Jimmy Vesey once scored 32 goals in a 37 game season with his alma mater of Harvard University. Those totals are just a small indication of what Vesey could do if surrounded by the right players. With Derek Stepan no longer on the team, everyone essentially moved up a spot from last year. Now, players are being switched into new positions. This leaves room for Vesey to play with the top six.
If the stars do align for Vesey and he plays alongside players in which he has good chemistry with, he can score 20 goals this season. With that, he should also be able to add at least a dozen more assists which will overall increase his point total.
In addition to hopefully bumping up his numbers in the offensive categories, Vesey will likely be even better with his physical play. Last season, Vesey caught the Rangers by surprise with his aggressive play on the forecheck and in the neutral zone.
If Vesey continues to meet the expectations and even surpass them, he will make his presence known as a valuable addition to the Rangers offense. However, if the Rangers still find themselves in decline because they don’t have a good center, Vesey’s impact may become obsolete.
Now that Vesey is in his second season, he may be a point of guidance for the Rangers new guys. Rookies like Lias Andersson or Filip Chytil could benefit from playing alongside a guy who was just a rookie last season.
In the unlikely event…
The phrase “sophomore slump” was created for a good reason. In all sports, this idea of a rookie not living up to his/her expectations happens a lot. Rangers fans most notably saw this in action in Kevin Hayes’ second season on Broadway.
Vesey had some points throughout the season last year in which seemed invisible. These periods didn’t last long, but they happened often. Also, on a team in which the offense seems bleak at the moment, the Rangers need Vesey to produce consistently. Should he not be able to match or surpass his totals from last season, the Rangers may find themselves with more problems than they originally thought.
Luckily, it doesn’t seem like the Rangers will face this problem. While Vesey didn’t score in the preseason, he had a solid outing. He showed his physical side and was very aggressive. If that means anything, it would seem as if Vesey will have a great season coming up.
Ultimately, this can be a big year for Vesey. Just in his second season, Vesey has the potential to be a source of big offense and leadership. For Vesey, taking on these new roles shouldn’t be that big of an issue.