The National Hockey League has reached the slowest part of the offseason and the news stories other than the Jimmy Vesey watch have dried up. While a few teams are reportedly in the race for the Hobey Baker Award winner as the best player in college hockey, the Rangers have been said to be thrust to the top of his list with good reason. While Vesey was selected with the 66th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, he wanted to choose his own career path and will enter free agency on August 15th, which leads us to the never-ending saga that is the Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes.
What the Rangers Have to Offer
While teams such as the New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks have been consistently said to be on the top of the list with the Rangers, neither of those teams can offer what the Rangers can. Vesey has stated multiple times that he wants to stay in the Northeast and the Rangers are the premier destination when it comes to hockey teams on the East Coast. While playing at places such as the Prudential Center and the Barclays Center are nice, nothing beats playing in Madison Square Garden, skating on the ice that players such as Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky left their mark on.
The signing of Vesey will likely come down to team fit and Vesey can slide right into the Rangers opening night lineup with the chance to play with Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller, Michael Grabner, all of whom would mesh with the big winger and help Vesey push to be one of the best rookies in the league. The Vesey situation is very similar to Kevin Hayes. Kevin Hayes was drafted by the Blackhawks and signed by the Rangers after his rights expired. Vesey wants to be a valuable piece to the team as soon as he hits the ice, so modeling what he wants off of what Kevin Hayes has done with the Rangers in his first two seasons would make a lot of sense.
With Vesey looking into the future, the Rangers cap will open up tremendously in the future, allowing him to remain with the franchise on a likely much more lucrative deal come his second, third, and fourth years with the franchise. With the likely buyout of Girardi or Staal next season, money opens up for both Vesey and players who will be put around Vesey to help him and the team succeed. While Vesey can only make $925,000 this year, he’ll likely be in the multi-millions in the years to come and the Rangers will have plenty of room to cater to his requests.
The Bottom Line
The Rangers can give Vesey everything he wants and more if he decides that he wants to play in the biggest market in America. With the consistent winning culture comes a sense of pride to put on the jersey and step out onto the ice in the most iconic arena in America. Jimmy Vesey will likely be a high-impact player, and with his talent, the Rangers would likely boast one of the best lineups in the NHL for many years to come. The Rangers offer the best organization in the Northeast with a great roster of young talent, a top-of-the-line coach, general manager who has put together one of the best off-seasons of any hockey team in the NHL, and the future comfort that any player would dream to have. If the Rangers can manage to express all of this in their pitch to Vesey, it should be a no-brainer for him to put on the classic blue, white, and red and help the Rangers chase for the Cup next season.