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

jimmy vesey.jpg

#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

Blueshirt Faithful Expect a Return to Greatness from Key Players

Luanne Duncan

lundqvist and girardi

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Well folks, welcome to the vast hockey wasteland known as August – the most dismal month of the year for hockey fans.  The trade frenzy is over and everyone’s favorite RFAs has been signed.  The playoffs were to most of us, a complete disappointment and there was a lot of blame placed all around.  But some necessary changes to coaching and the roster were made, and the anticipation of a brand new season is palpable.

The biggest news of the Summer for Blueshirt fans was the earth shattering trade of top line center and leading scorer Derick Brassard for the little known Mika Zibanejad from Ottawa. After the initial outrage had settled into a cooler mood of reason, analysts and fans alike agreed that the trade actually makes sense.  The younger, bigger Zibanejad has similar stats (81 GP/21 G/ 30 A) to the seasoned Brassard (80 GP/27 G/31 A) but with a much cheaper price tag.  Fans and players alike are looking to the new guy to inject youth and power into the lineup and more importantly, to continue to improve for a number of years.  Read the rest of this entry

Jeff Gorton deserves credit for a successful offseason

Bobby Bevilacqua

Jeff Gorton 2

Photo courtesy of the New York Rangers.

Following the Rangers elimination from the playoffs, I had a feeling that this offseason would be extremely important, with the chance to have an impact on the long term future of the franchise and determining if they would compete or be forced to rebuild.

Keith Yandle was a free agent, the team had departures and deficiencies on defense, there were serious cap constrictions and a ton of really important, young RFAs to lock up with new deals. Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for how the team would turn out heading into next year.

But in a situation with his hands tied behind his back, Jeff Gorton did an admirable job maneuvering through a very tough situation and making the absolute best of it for the Rangers. Read the rest of this entry

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