Jimmy Vesey, the former Harvard superstar and 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner, chose the New York Rangers this past Friday. After being selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 draft, Vesey informed the team that he intended to become a free agent after graduating college. The Predators traded his rights to the Buffalo Sabres, who believed they could sign him during their period of exclusive negotiations, but Vesey still maintained his desire to become a free agent.
Almost every NHL team showed interest in Vesey, but it came down to seven potential suitors: Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto, the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, Boston, and Pittsburgh. Teams such as Columbus, Carolina and Detroit were told Vesey was uninterested because he wanted to remain close to home in the northeast. Many of these finalist teams sent their superstars to help in their recruiting efforts, including John Tavares and Jack Eichel. Furthermore, many famous celebrities pitched their teams to Vesey via Twitter, particularly the New York Rangers.
After much anticipation and tension, Vesey announced that he would be joining the New York Rangers.
Vesey appears poised to join the Rangers in the 2016-2017 season and will most likely see third line minutes. The Rangers have done a nice job in going young with their group of forwards, and Vesey adds another dimension to this impressive core.
Taking a look at his college statistics, Vesey scored 144 points in 128 games, including 80 goals. He also helped contribute the United States’ gold medal in the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship as well as the 2015 bronze medal in the IIHF World Championship.
A coveted free agent, Vesey appears ready to be an instant contributor for the Blue Shirts. However, there could always be cause for concern with a young, unproven guy who has a ton of hype, especially when playing in a city such as New York in which new guys are always put under a microscope. Obviously the talent is there, but not every player can put it together in the NHL, a league in which the speed of the game can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the world.
It will be interesting to see how Vesey adapts to life in the NHL, but no matter how it pans out, the risk was definitely worth the potential reward for the Rangers. They will be spending mere peanuts on Vesey, a guy who is in the company of Johnny Gaudreau and Jack Eichel–two fellow Hobey Baker winners. Not bad, Rangers fans.
2016-2017 Season Prediction: 13 Goals, 27 Assists, 40 points
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