After a hot start to his rookie season, the New York Rangers phenom has struggled to score since mid-November.
Jimmy Vesey started off his first campaign against the New York Rangers on a strong note. The Harvard graduate had six goals in his first 10 career NHL games. Even in the games he didn’t score during that stretch, Vesey was playing hard, driving to the net with lots of speed, causing a challenge for opposing defenders and goalies.
Fast forward to late December, Vesey has struggled to put the puck in the net. The Bostonian hasn’t scored in seven games, and only has three goals in his last 21 matches. This has been a problem for a Rangers team that has struggled to get any sustained offense going recently.
Vesey’s biggest problem right now is his failure to get the puck on net. In a stretch of four games at the beginning of December, Vesey put 15 shots on net en route to scoring two goals. Since then, Vesey has only gotten a shot on goal three times over his last six games.
Vesey has been shifted up and down the Rangers banged up lineup all season, and played with J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes last night–two other players struggling to find the back of the net. Alain Vigneault has seemingly docked Vesey’s ice time, which makes no sense with offensively gifted players like Rick Nash, Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad out of the lineup. Vesey has only been on the ice more than 13 minutes a game twice over the last six games. One of those games he was only out there for 13:09, so barely breaking that 13-minute barrier.
Look on the bright side
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Although he didn’t score last night, credit must be given to Vesey for making an effort to impact the game in an area other than the offensive side of the game. He tallied three hits, was present on the defensive side, and even dropped the gloves. You have to love how Vesey stood up for himself after his hit–a clean one–on former Rangers Derick Brassard last night when Mark Stone bullied him into a fight.
On a team that is in need of some sandpaper, it is refreshing to finally see a Ranger other than Kevin Klein stand up for themselves or their teammates.
While Vesey needs to continue to play the way he did away from the puck last night, he needs to start scoring again. Getting to the net like he did earlier in the season will go a long way in that. He doesn’t look it on TV, but Vesey is actually a big kid. He’s 6’3″ and weighs about 210lbs. If he uses that size to get to the front of the net, he will get back on track pretty quickly.