The Vancouver Canucks claimed Jimmy Vesey off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Through 30 games, he has scored five goals and posted seven points with the first-place team in the North Division.
The Canucks add much-needed help in the bottom-six with Vesey. A bonus to adding him is he does not have to serve a 14-day quarantine, and they could see how well he fits in immediately. The 27-year old is in his fifth NHL season and is hoping to find some stability with the Canucks.
Vesey Has Been On and Off
Vesey was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft. Instead of signing with the Predators, the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner decided to test free agency four years after his draft year. Vesey decided to sign with the New York Rangers instead of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016. He spent three seasons with the Rangers, scoring 16 goals in the first season and 17 in both of the following seasons. Additionally, his point total rose every year, going from 27 points in 80 games in 2016-17 to 28 in 79 games and finally, 35 in 81 games.
Since leaving New York, he has struggled to find the same success. He signed with the Buffalo Sabres before the 2019-20 season and only scored nine goals and posted 20 points in 64 games. Vesey signed with the Maple Leafs to a one-year, $900,000 deal but didn’t get much playing time on a deep team this season.
Vesey Provides Immediate Help
Vesey will be a depth player for the Canucks, being able to play throughout the lineup. The Canucks have multiple injured players on their roster, from the first line to the fourth. Elias Pettersson will miss the current four-game road trip the team is on with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel are both out with undisclosed injuries. Once he joins the team, he is a great option in the middle-six.
The 27-year old will have an opportunity in the top-six if he joins the team in Montreal before Pettersson returns. Otherwise, he is a lock to play in the team’s bottom-six. With the injuries to Beagle and Roussel, the Canucks have had to use different options. On Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators, the team used seven defensemen as Jalen Chatfield played forward. Now, Vesey will be able to play on the team’s third line.
Vesey Is the Type of Play Canucks Need in the Lineup
With key players in Pettersson, Thatcher Demko, and Quinn Hughes set to be restricted free agents this offseason and the Canucks in a cap crunch, a player like Vesey is what they’ll need in the bottom-six. The Canucks will have $25.7 million in cap space, and all three of those players will likely take up close to $20 million. Therefore, re-signing Vesey at around $900,000 this offseason would be helpful.
Not only did they add a player who can help in the bottom-six, but Vesey’s five goals are tied for the seventh most on the team. He is tied for the second-most goals when compared to others in the bottom six. Vesey is tied with Tyler Motte in second with five goals and one goal behind Brandon Sutter. Not only can he produce, but the cap space he’d take is good for the Canucks as they are in a cap crunch.
Canucks’ Bottom-Six Shaping up
With the addition of Vesey, the Canucks’ bottom-six is starting to shape up when every player is healthy. Along with Vesey, the Canucks have a few players returning to the lineup. Motte is one of the returning players and played his first game since Feb. 6 on Wednesday against the Senators. Jayce Hawryluk is someone the team signed in the offseason, but he was injured in training camp. Hawryluk missed 25 games to start the season but has returned and played in the team’s last eight games.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.