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Return to the Rangers: A Jimmy Vesey Primer

Courtesy of the New York Rangers

A Harvard alum and Hobey Baker recipient, Jimmy Vesey has experienced a whirlwind journey in the NHL. After being selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2016 draft, Vesey chose to become a free agent and signed a contract with the New York Rangers just two days later, in August of the same year.

Despite facing trades and setbacks throughout his career, Vesey found himself back with the New York Rangers in October 2022. His resilience was further evident when he solidified his commitment to the team by signing a two-year contract extension in January 2023.

And Vesey makes it clear that he has no intention of leaving anytime soon. 

Before Harvard, Vesey proved dominant on the ice, collecting awards and records left and right. During his four years at Harvard, Vesey showcased remarkable talent and consistency. As a junior in the 2014-2015 season, he was a force to be reckoned with, leading the nation with 32 goals and earning accolades such as Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist, ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Player of the Year, and the ECAC and Ivy League Player spot. 

In his freshman year, Vesey was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year and selected to the ECAC All-Rookie Team, contributing significantly with goals and assists throughout the season and earning recognition as the Hogan Hockey/ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Month for November. Across all three seasons, Vesey demonstrated a remarkable ability to excel on the ice while maintaining academic excellence, earning spots on the ECAC All-Academic Team.

Courtesy of Y. Kit Wu

Vesey's sophomore season saw him named to the All-Ivy League second team, where he led Harvard with 13 goals, including crucial game-winners against formidable opponents like Boston University and Clarkson.

With the brains and bronze, Vesey landed right where he wanted to in 2016: the New York Rangers. 

Often played with Brady Skjei and Kevin Hayes, Vesey was the new blueshirt boy. On his opening night against the San Jose Sharks in 2016, Vesey scored one goal in a 7-4 win. Just a few days later, Jimmy scored back-to-back goals in a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals. His rookie season with the Rangers concluded at 27 points, but for a rookie, that was highly impressive. 

In a game against Boston, Vesey scored back-to-back goals 29 seconds apart, and the Rangers won 4-2. Vesey and Jaromír Jágr were the only Rangers to do so. Vesey’s first two years with the Rangers proved to be highly successful, both on and off the ice. Vesey was treated as the golden boy, featured in multiple interviews, and highly praised for being lucky enough to be around in the glory days of Henrik Lundqvist and the 2018 Stadium Series at Citi Field. 

But that all changed in July of 2019, when Vesey was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round draft pick. 

Vesey's move in the NHL began with the Buffalo Sabres. Despite flashes of promise, his time with the Sabres proved challenging, as he scored 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) across 64 games during the 2019-2020 season.

After signing to a one-year deal with the Leafs in the tumultuous year of 2020, Vesey hit the ice with high hopes and a determination to make his mark. Initially slotted alongside seasoned veterans John Tavares and William Nylander on the second line, Vesey showcased flashes of brilliance, netting 5 goals and tallying 7 points in his first 30 games. However, as the season progressed, his role shifted, finding himself in a bottom-six forward position, where his versatility and grit remained assets to the squad.

However, Vesey’s journey took an unexpected turn on March 17, 2021, when the Vancouver Canucks claimed him off waivers, marking his fourth NHL team in just three seasons. Vesey's contributions were more subdued, notching a trio of assists across 20 regular-season appearances. 

Throughout his NHL career, Vesey has demonstrated glimpses of his potential, showcasing his scoring touch and adaptability on the ice. As he continues his quest for success, Vesey remains a testament to perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. 

Courtesy of Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

During the 2021-2022 NHL season, Jimmy Vesey made his mark with the New Jersey Devils. Throughout his time with the Devils, Vesey showcased his scoring ability, finding the back of the net eight times. Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, he also demonstrated his playmaking skills, tallying seven assists, bringing his total point contribution to 15 for the season.

While Vesey's offensive contributions were notable, his impact extended beyond the scoresheet. Throughout the season, he showed a willingness to battle in the corners and in front of the net, creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. His work ethic and determination on the ice earned him respect from both teammates and fans alike.

However, Vesey's tenure with the Devils was not without its challenges. 

Despite his individual contributions, the team struggled, as reflected in Vesey's plus/minus rating of -24 for the season. Nevertheless, Vesey remained a consistent presence in the lineup.

Courtesy of @NYRangers

Finally, after years of moving around and personal growth, Vesey found his way back home to the New York Rangers. No longer was Vesey a baby-faced eighteen-year-old, but a veteran twenty-nine-year-old who had moved around the country. 

Vesey’s return with the Rangers has proved to be one of his most successful seasons so far in the NHL. After a tumultuous journey through free agency, Jimmy Vesey found a home with the New York Rangers in September 2022. Initially brought in on a tryout contract, Vesey quickly proved his worth to the team, solidifying his position as a dependable defensive forward on the fourth line.

His dedication paid dividends as the season progressed. On October 9, just over a month after signing his tryout contract, Vesey inked a one-year deal with the Rangers, cementing his spot on the roster. But his journey with the team was far from over.

As the 2022-23 season unfolded, Vesey's contributions became increasingly apparent. With 25 points in 81 games, including 11 goals and 14 assists, Vesey showcased his ability to chip in offensively while remaining steadfast in his defensive duties.

However, his point production wasn’t the only thing that stood out. His ability to contribute at both ends of the ice made him an invaluable asset to the Rangers' lineup.

Courtesy of Derik Hamilton/ AP

Midway through the season, on January 4, 2023, Vesey's efforts were rewarded again as he signed a contract extension to remain with the Rangers for another two years. It was a testament to his hard work and dedication, as well as the team's recognition of his importance to their success.

Vesey's tenure with the Rangers didn't start with a flourish of goals or headline-worthy plays, but rather with a commitment to the less glamorous aspects of the game. Tasked with defensive responsibilities. As a reliable presence on the ice and a key contributor in all situations, Vesey has proven himself to be an integral part of the Rangers' lineup, solidifying his place as a fan favorite and a vital component of the team's success.

Edited by: Lily Hayes

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