Appreciating the Play of Rangers Forward Jimmy Vesey

Jason Szenes/New York Post

When it comes to the New York Rangers, it is easy to see why hockey pundits and the team’s fans praise their top six forwards.

The Blueshirts have relied on them all season long to produce, and for the most part, they have come through in spades. Just look at what they have done going into their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, February 9th:

  • Artemi Panarin: 67 points on 31 goals and 36 assists
  • Mika Zibanejad: 47 points on 15 goals and 32 assists
  • Vincent Trocheck: 47 points on 15 goals and 32 assists
  • Chris Kreider: 48 points on 24 goals and 24 assists
  • Alexis Lafreniere: 31 points on 14 goals and 17 assists
  • Blake Wheeler: 21 points on nine goals and 12 assists

As you can tell from the above, that is a lot of production from the team’s top two lines. While they must continue producing at this level, the club’s bottom six needs to start getting into gear.

Jimmy Vesey is one of the bottom six players who is playing extremely well this season. Sure, he may not have the pizzazz of the players mentioned above, but he has done a lot for the Blueshirts this season.

For starters, Vesey, 30, has been a solid contributor when playing five-on-five this season. He currently has 11 goals, eight of which have come at even strength.

The reasons why he has had success playing at even strength this season are that he is not afraid to go to the net, knows how to find open space in the slot, and has a deceptive shot that can find seams in an opponent’s defense and goaltender. When you put all of these things together, you have a player that was made to play at five-on-five.

Vesey has also shown that he can come through in the clutch. Out of his 11 goals this season, four of them have been game-winning goals.

He showed a flair for the dramatic last season as well. Out of his 11 goals last season, four of them were game-winning goals.

This goes back to what I mentioned above. He knows how to get himself into open spaces in the offensive zone, and when he does that, the puck sometimes finds him, and he scores an important goal to help his team pick up two points.

Speaking of contributing offense, Vesey has not been afraid to put the puck on the net this season. He currently has 85 shots on goal, which is more than the team’s other bottom six players, including Will Cuylle, Jonny Brodzinski, Barclay Goodrow, Kaapo Kakko (who missed time with a lower-body injury), and Tyler Pitlick.

Lastly, Vesey does all the little things that make him a valuable player for the Rangers. He hustles, he blocks shots, he forechecks, he creates turnovers, and he is on the ice for more goals for than against.

The team’s bottom six may not be great when it comes to producing, but as you can tell from the above, it is unfair to include Vesey in that conversation. He does all the right things to create chances for himself and his teammates, and for someone who plays third-line minutes, he has contributed his fair share of offense.

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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