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Vesey Adjusting to Pro Pace After Traverse City

Rookie slotted on a line with Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Forward Jimmy Vesey said he's always considered himself a bigger guy on the ice, and at 6-foot-2, 201 pounds, it's understandable as to why he'd feel that way.

But not so much anymore, according to Vesey, who has skated alongside Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash early on in training camp.

Hayes clocks in a 6-foot-5, 227 pounds, while Nash is listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds.

"It's been awesome," Vesey said of skating with Hayes and Nash. "I'm the smallest guy on the line. I usually consider myself a bigger guy."

While it is unsure how long Vigneault will keep that trio together, Vesey gleamed when talking about playing alongside two players of that caliber.

"I think we all have good hockey sense and like to use our bodies down low," said Vesey, 23, signed with New York last month after four years at Harvard. "I think if we can hang on to pucks below the dots we can be successful."

Vesey and Hayes' relationship dates back to their childhood when they played youth hockey together. Vesey said Hayes has been instrumental in helping him through the process of joining the Rangers and throughout informal skates and into main camp.

"Definitely easy playing with him," Vesey said of his friend and teammate. "I'm comfortable communicating with him. That's a big part of the game, just positioning and talking to your linemates. He's definitely been a big tool for me to lean on this summer and in camp."

Vesey shined at last week's Traverse City Prospects Tournament, when he led the tournament with five goals and tied for the lead with seven points. The Boston native said that experience was beneficial heading into training camp.

"It was my first experience with pro games, even though it was a rookie tournament," Vesey said. "I thought it was good hockey and I definitely wanted to make a good first impression on the Rangers organization, so I feel good about how I played and just trying to carry that over into this camp."

Vesey said the biggest adjustment he's seen in main camp has been the size of his teammates.

"It's another adjustment, or just another step up," Vesey said of main camp compared to what he saw in Traverse City. "The one thing I've noticed out here is just how strong guys are in the corners and the battles are more intense. You've got to find a way to get yourself to the net. It's definitely a step up, but the second day I felt a little more comfortable out there today and I'm just trying to keep getting adjusted."

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