After months of waiting, the Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes are finally over. The former Harvard Crimson captain and standout forward has agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with the New York Rangers.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 19, 2016
The Rangers beat out the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and many other teams who made pitches to the 23-year-old. With the Rangers still believing their Stanley Cup window to be open, but coming up short on prospects, Vesey should get an immediate chance to succeed in the NHL as a result.
The Rangers have made a conscious effort to get younger this offseason, trading Derick Brassard to the Ottawa Senators for Mika Zibanejad. With some new young talent set to complement the veteran team in New York, the Rangers can be considered one of the more successful teams this offseason.
The signing is also big because the Rangers haven’t had a 1st-round draft pick since 2012 when they drafted Brady Skjei. They have regularly traded away top picks in order to make a push in the current season. It’s left their cupboards a little bare. But signing Vesey, along with finally signing top prospect Pavel Buchnevich, helps replenish the prospect pool at the NHL level. Additionally, the team signed college free agent John Gilmour this week. He is expected to provide defensive depth in the AHL to start the season.
With the so-called #VeseyWatch now over, teams will likely re-evaluate their current rosters and look into the remaining free agents sitting on the market, including Jiri Hudler and Brandon Pirri, to name a few. Nonetheless, losing out on a low-risk, high-reward contract surely stings.