New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Jimmy Vesey on a two-year contract.
Vesey, 25, skated in 79 games with the Rangers this past season, registering 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points, along with 20 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2017-18, including goals and points, and he tied his career-high in assists. Vesey tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (four) and game-deciding goals (one), ranked third in even strength goals (16), ranked fifth in goals and takeaways (46), and tied for sixth in hits (83). The Rangers posted a 15-4-3 record in games which he registered a point, including a 10-2-1 record in games which he tallied a goal. Vesey recorded nine points (five goals, four assists) in the final 13 games of the season, including six points (two goals, four assists) in the final eight contests. He registered two goals in a span of 29 seconds on November 8, 2017 vs. Boston, becoming the first Ranger to tally two goals in a span of 29 seconds or fewer since Jaromir Jagr on November 14, 2006. In addition, he tallied his first career NHL hat trick and tied a single-game career-high with three points on March 12, 2018 vs. Carolina.
The 6-3, 206-pounder has skated in 159 career NHL games over two seasons (2016-17 and 2017-18), both with the Rangers, registering 33 goals and 22 assists for 55 points, along with 46 penalty minutes. Over the last two seasons, Vesey is one of three NHL players who registered 30 or more goals while skating in at least 150 games and averaging fewer than 14:00 of ice time per game (along with Micheal Ferland and Ryan Hartman). Ten of Vesey's 33 career NHL goals have been game-winning goals, and he is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals since he joined the Rangers prior to the start of the 2016-17 season. He registered six game-winning goals in 2016-17, becoming the first Ranger to tally six game-winning goals in his rookie season since Mike Ridley in 1985-86. Vesey received the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award as the top Rangers rookie in Training Camp in 2016. In addition, he skated in 12 games during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, registering one goal and four assists for five points.
Prior to beginning his professional career, Vesey played four seasons of collegiate hockey at Harvard University (2012-13 - 2015-16), registering 80 goals and 64 assists for 144 points, along with a plus-17 rating and 66 penalty minutes in 128 games. He won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in collegiate hockey in 2015-16, and he was also selected as a finalist for the award in 2014-15. In addition, the North Reading, Massachusetts native has represented the United States in international competition twice thus far in his career, winning a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship and a bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.
Vesey was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 19, 2016. He was originally selected by Nashville in the third round, 66th overall, of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.