Reasonable expectations for the Rangers 2016-17 Season

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-celebrate-a-goal-4-5

Before the offseason started, there were talks about Jeff Gorton and the Rangers doing some minor tinkering and potentially entering the first phase of a rebuild. The team looked to have some major flaws and holes, an aging blue line and issues to address before opening night.

But Gorton made a lot of small, smart depth signings during Free Agent Frenzy, a trade for Mika Zibanejad, brought aboard a highly coveted NCAA prospect in Jimmy Vesey, and even made some changes to the coaching staff and management.

The moves made in the offseason show that the Rangers aren’t looking to rebuild and exit the first round this season, they’re looking to contend. Read the rest of this entry

Brandon Pirri signs one year deal with the Rangers; A sign of a trade to come?

Bobby Bevilacqua

brandon pirri

Photo courtesy of the Florida Panthers.

Jeff Gorton made another clever depth signing, adding to the already impressive group of forwards he’s assembled. Former Florida Panther Brandon Pirri has inked a one year deal with the Rangers worth $1.1 million, and could factor into the middle of their lineup.

Pirri split time with the Panthers and Ducks this season, scoring 14 goals with 15 assists in a total of 61 games. Back in the 2-14-15 season, he scored an impressive 22 goals in just 49 games, playing mostly with Jimmy Hayes and Vincent Trochek.

It’s important to note that he did bounce around the lineup this past season, never really settling into a set spot on a line or with teammates. He’s not a lock to score 20 goals again, but in a more solidified role, Pirri could see his offensive production increase. Read the rest of this entry

Brady Skjei: What to expect and how to best utilize him

Bobby Bevilacqua

Brady Skjei skating 2-23

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

When the Rangers were deciding whether or not to re-sign Keith Yandle, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said that the emergence of Brady Skjei factored into whether or not Yandle factored into their future plans.

“You need good players that are coming that don’t make a lot of money,” said Gorton. “Brady [Skjei] looks on the cusp of being an NHL player. I think that will help our decision.”

I could write a whole article about why that logic is flawed and why Skjei shouldn’t have been factored into the decision on re-signing Yandle or not, but I’ll hold back. Instead, just a concise statement on it; While Skjei is an excellent talent and performed well in his brief NHL stint, it’s not fair to expect Skjei to come close to Yandle’s offensive production, since he’s not the same type of player and he’s a rookie, and hampering him with those expectations could put a lot of unnecessary pressure on him. Read the rest of this entry

Jimmy Vesey provides upside, balance to the Rangers forward group

VeseyHB

Bobby Bevilacqua

For the second time in two years, the Rangers managed to sign the best college free agent on the market, signing Harvard captain Jimmy Vesey to an entry level contract last night and adding the 23 year old to their already impressive group of young forwards.

Looking at the potential roster for next season, Alain Vigneault will employ four lines full of young talent; Derek Stepan (26), Josh Jooris (26), Chris Kreider (25), Oscar Lindberg (24), Jesper Fast (24), Kevin Hayes (24), Jimmy Vesey (23), Mika Zibanejad (23), JT Miller (23), and Pavel Buchnevich (21). For a team that’s sometimes criticized for having “no future” or who’s “window is closed,” the Rangers are looking pretty damn good heading into next season.

Vesey wrapped up his senior season at Harvard, scoring 24 goals with 22 assists for 46 points in just 33 games. He won the Hobey Baker award after finishing as a runner up for the 2014-15 season, when he established career highs in games played (37), goals (32), assists (26), and points (58). Read the rest of this entry

BREAKING: Rangers agree to terms with Free Agent forward Jimmy Vesey

Bobby Bevilacqua

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#VeseyWatch is over, and the 2016 Hobey Baker award winner is coming to Madison Square Garden.

In a somewhat shocking move, the Rangers have agreed to terms on a three year Entry Level Contract with Jimmy Vesey, the highly coveted forward out of Harvard University. Originally selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Vesey decided to test free agency and choose where he would begin his career.

Luckily for us Rangers fans, Vesey decided to come to New York and join a promising young forward corps that’s suddenly become deeper and full of youth and talent. Two months ago, everyone was worried about the Rangers’ bottom six and supplementary scoring. And now, the third line heading into opening night could be Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes and Pavel Buchnevich. Talk about a turnaround. Read the rest of this entry