Jimmy Vesey is a different player when he comes back at Rangers.

Jimmy Vesey is a different player when he comes back at Rangers.


The long and winding road has led Jimmy Vesey back to where his NHL journey began. Only this time without all – or none – of the hoopla. Only this time, not only the place of registration, but without the guarantee of a contract.

In the year Six years after signing with the Rangers in 2016 after turning down offers from both Nashville, who offered the 66th overall pick, and Buffalo, who traded for his rights, Vesey Attending the Blueshirts camp on a professional tryoutHoping to get a job as a fourth line, penalty-killing specialist.

At least two-thirds of NHL clubs were in the free agent derby. It was a kind of public circus. They accused Nashville GM David Poile of making a mistake. Vesey reported to the Rangers and pitched brilliantly for his rookie season.

Now the crickets.

“Honestly, that scream didn’t come from me,” Vesey told The Post before Monday’s impressive performance, which featured a power-play goal and solid penalty-killing performance. 4-1 exhibition opening win over the Islanders in the garden. “I always thought of myself as a 20-goaler and when I came out here three years later I thought it was too much.

“Then I had a rough year in Buffalo and after that I just spun.”

Vesey is not rewriting history here. He avoided attention as much as possible. He was soft-spoken then, as now, prone to long streaks where self-doubt eats him alive.

Jimmy Vesey Of The New York Rangers Fell To The Ice In The Third Period
Jimmy Vesey was expected to be a top-six dynamo but struggled to break the 20-goal mark.
Jason Szenes for the New York Post

The 29-year-old said he had previously worked with a few mental skills specialists: “You know the biggest thing for me is always confidence. They.

I’m still open to the possibility.

Vesey scored 16, 17 and 17 goals respectively as a top six/ninth in his first Broadway outing and was among the team’s best players in the 2017 first-round upset over Montreal. Sent to the Sabres. A third-round draft pick following 2018-19, the wing scored just 20 points (9-11). Then came the lost year split between Toronto and Vancouver.

“I was in Canada at the time [2020-21] Vesey scored 10 points (5-5) in 50 contests in a self-imposed Covid year. “I didn’t play well. It was very difficult for me.

“It was a sad experience.”

But Vesey created a different image of himself following that season. He signed with New Jersey as a free agent and joined Michael McLeod in the first PK unit as a highly effective support player and penalty killer, totaling 15 points (8-7).

“After a year in Canada, I found myself reinventing myself as a fourth-line guy who kills penalties,” he said. “I’m not one to rip my own tires, but I think I did a good job of that.”

Of course, Vesey was so effective in that role that it was surprising that he wasn’t picked up as a rental for a playoff team at the deadline.

New York Rangers Jimmy Vesey (26) During The New York Rangers Training Camp.
Jimmy Vesey returns to the Rangers to take over the penalty killing specialist role.
Robert Sabo

“Well, it was… close,” he said, without revealing juicy details.

So now it’s back to the future for Vesey after 422 NHL career games He seems to compete with Dryden Hunt and Ryan Carpenter – a pick-up man who played for head coach Gerard Gallant for two years in Vegas – for a roster spot that could keep the team only one replacement going forward. Assuming Ryan Reaves’ job isn’t in jeopardy, it looks like there will only be room for the two teams.

Vesey said he had offers from other clubs to join the camp on a trial basis, perhaps an easier way to sign a contract from anywhere, but chose to return to a place similar to his home.

“I’m the type of person…I’m shy, I like the feeling of home,” he said. “And Chris [Drury] I was the assistant GM when I was here. He knows what I’m made of and I can contribute. Comfort is important to me. I am also at a stage in my career where I want to play for a team that can win the cup. Rangers are a legitimate contender.

According to Vesey, he is eyeing the role played by Tyler Mote following his acquisition at Deadline. Motte left as a free agent after the cap-stressed Blueshirts couldn’t handle the asking price.

I know management values ​​the role Motte has played here. I think I fit that mold and I can fill that position,” Vesey said. “I can skate, I can kill free throws and if I shoot the puck, I can still score.”

Six years after the show, three years after he left, Jimmy Vesey is taking another crack at Broadway.

“Looking at my career, I’m fine where I am,” he once said. “I know what my assets are and what I need to do.

“It’s good to be back.”

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