With age supposedly comes wisdom and for Jimmy Vesey, his second stint with the New York Rangers looks like he’s grown up.  Don’t get me wrong and say that the first go-around with the Rangers showed a lack of maturity for Vesey but this second time with the organization is showing a different side of him – a really good side.  No, Jimmy Vesey isn’t the second coming of Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby or any other NHL great; Vesey is just himself and finally growing into the hockey player he was meant to be.  Jimmy Vesey has become good at reinventing himself.

Vesey was probably the victim of success and the media circus surrounding his draft back in 2016 from venerable Harvard.  Yes, Vesey’s an Ivy Leaguer and maybe there was a bias already built in coming into the NHL but at least he played like a top-notch draft pick.  In Vesey’s senior year, he led the Harvard Crimson with 24 goals and 22 assists in 33 games played, good enough to earn the annual Hobey Baker Award for the top college hockey player in Division I.  The Blueshirts saw potential in Vesey and took what looked like a reasonable risk on Vesey and made him a top draft choice in 2016.

Vesey’s road in the NHL has been more of a road less traveled.

As Vesey made the Rangers’ roster in the 2016 training camp, he started his freshman NHL campaign with a decent but not trailblazing level of success.  in 80 games, Vesey made 16 goals and another 11 assists –  a good start to an NHL career.   However, Vesey leveled out in his sophomore season in 2018-19 with 17 more goals and 18 assists in 81 games.  Again, Vesey had good numbers but nothing earth-shattering in the hockey world.  From there, the downward spiral started to multiply as Vesey was traded to the Buffalo Sabres and the following season reduced numbers followed him with nine goals and 11 assists in 64 games.  The Covid-infested 2020-21 season saw Vesey bounce around from Toronto to Vancouver and in 50 games his production plummeted with only five goals and five more assists in 50 games.  The New Jersey Devils rolled the dice on a PTO(Professional Tryout Option) contract during the 2021 training camp and signed Vesey to what amounts to a league minimum contract and in 64 games Vesey again hardly appeared on the Devils’ radar screen with eight goals and seven more assists.

At the end of the 2021-22 season, Vesey found himself at a crossroads in his hockey career and this past summer he got an opportunity to try again with the Rangers.  Again, another PTO contract was offered and if you’re sure what a PTO contract is, it’s basically a chance to show up in training camp and get beaten up for minimum pay with absolutely no guarantees that you will get signed to a permanent contract.  Just watch the early NFL preseason and you will see plenty of players get signed to what amounts to a daily contract and poof most of those guys are gone before the next couple of days to weeks.  With his career on the line, Vesey signed a PTO contract just to have a shot at coming back to the Rangers-again, no guarantees whatsoever.  A Harvard degree is no guarantee of an NHL contract these days.

Vesey may have found a home with the Blueshirts-again.

Jimmy Vesey put in the work in training camp this past fall and head coach Gerard Gallant and GM Chris Drury must have seen something that they liked in the newer, older, wider version of Vesey and gave him a one year, $750,000.00 contract.  If you’ve watched Vesey play at all this year, you know he’s not the glory seeker who’s going to get his name said a lot each game.  With nine goals and eight assists in 48 games this year, Vesey has moved around lines and basically played when needed, where needed.  Remember, Jimmy Vesey is 6’3″ and 202 pounds and has found a nice with the Blueshirts by working the corners and doing the dirty but all-too necessary work to help make plays.  Just think of a utility bench player in baseball who can come in during any inning and help get the job done and that’s probably a good analogy for Jimmy Vesey – get the job done.  As a reward for his hustle this time around, Vesey was awarded a two year contract extension worth an annual average of $800,000.00.  No, not the multi-million dollar contracts we’re used to hearing about but for Vesey, this contract extension means he’s found a home with the Rangers right back where he started his NHL career and he will more than likely be around for the next couple of years helping get the job done.

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 30: Jimmy Vesey #26 of the New York Rangers reacts to the loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 30, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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