The Rangers have a Swiss Army Knife in veteran forward

jimmy vesey, new york rangers
Jan 3, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

After the New York Rangers signed Jimmy Vesey to a professional tryout last year, there was uncertainty about where he would fit into the team’s lineup. It wasn’t long before Vesey found himself signing a two-year contract with the Blueshirts, solidifying himself as an impact player on the team.

What makes Vesey such a dynamic player is that after a full season back on the Rangers, he has not found himself playing just one role. He contributes on all of the lines, in all areas of the ice. Vesey’s usefulness and adaptability should allow him to act as the Rangers’ Swiss Army Knife in the 2023-24 season.

Vesey received both top six and bottom six minutes for the Rangers

Heading into the 2023-24 NHL season, Vesey is positioned to begin the year as the third-line right wing, slotted next to Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil. This will most likely be the case, but if this season is anything comparable to last year’s, Vesey will move all around the lineup from game to game.

Last season, Vesey secured an abundance of time playing in both the top six and bottom six. At certain points, he was positioned next to Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the first line. During other games, he was down on the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Motte. Coming as a surprise to many Rangers fans, Vesey actually excelled in both roles.

Ice time is not the only difference between the first and fourth lines. The first line’s main priority is to score goals, while the fourth’s is to grind, kill some time, and let the top players rest up for their next shift. It’s two completely different aspects of hockey, but Vesey managed to make himself useful in both.

Vesey has the potential to explode with the Rangers

In the 2022-2023 season, Vesey put up a respectable 25 points in 81 games. While not overwhelmingly impressive, it is important to remember that almost half of Vesey’s games were played down on the fourth line.

“Adding fuel to the fire, the Rangers may actually get more from Vesey in the next two seasons. There is reason to believe that his scoring line actually underperformed his on-ice performance, as his xG and puck possession shares were much higher than his offensive output. All while being an elite defensive player on a team that was constantly pinned in their own end.”

via Blue Seat Blogs

If Vesey begins to finish more with this abundance of puck possession he creates, he could easily elevate that 25-point stat total closer to 40 or even 50 points this upcoming season. He’s already a great player, and he has the potential to be even better.

Knowing that Vesey is versatile enough to perform both offensively and defensively on all four lines, the Rangers need to be using him as much as possible for the next few years. Vesey is a rare type of player, excelling in all aspects of hockey.

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