It’s not too often a college hockey player gets drafted by a team and then doesn’t play with that team and then become a prized free agent. Jimmy Vesey, the Harvard alumni was drafted in 2012 by the Nashville Predators but elected to keep playing in college. In March, Vesey didn’t want to sign with the Preds and wanted to pursue free agency.
Now, he has become a prized free agent for numerous teams and yes you guessed it the New York Rangers are in the thick of the race for the Hobey Baker winner of last year. The fortunate news for the Rangers, they don’t have to break the bank for him because he would be an entry level signing and it would be only $925,000 – so that’s good news there.
So who is Jimmy Vesey and why is so wanted? Well, he’s 23 years old so there’s youth. He put up 144 points in 128 college games, pretty impressive and he’s a left-handed center who can play a vital role in the Rangers top-9 forward situation. Vesey could fill in the absence of recently traded Derick Brassard (traded to the Ottawa Senators for Mika Zibanejad).
The Rangers aren’t the only team that is in the mix. You have fellow locals the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs as well. Interesting side not, Vesey’s dad Jim Vesey scouts for the Leafs and his brother Nolan was drafted by them.
For the Rangers it won’t be easy but Vesey’s agent, Peter Fish isn’t rushing the process. He knows there is multiple teams interested and said it will take time. Teams will have chances to make their pitch. The Rangers, are in a unique position because of how much the team has changed over the winter and continues to look at more options to change – waiting presumably for the Vesey sweepstakes to end – to continue to overhaul.
The Rangers can pitch on the idea that they are still in the thick of contending for the Stanley Cup despite a disappointing first-round exit. They can also present the have taken steps to get younger and faster (Zibanejad, Nathan Gerbe and Michael Grabner). They can also say they have one of the best goalies in the league if not the world – yes he still is folks.
Even celebrity Rangers fans such as radio personality of WFAN Boomer Esiason and former New York Giants player Justin Tuck have been courting for Vesey to sign with the Rangers.
For the hockey fans this is certainly exciting because it breaks the lull in the action we’ve seen from a long, hot and sticky summer. The World Cup of Hockey is right around the corner, training camps open within a few weeks and the season will be here before you know it and Rangers fans would sure like to see Vesey in the beautiful blue sweater.
We’re almost there folks, almost.