BREAKING: Kevin Hayes to miss 2-3 weeks, but his absence presents big opportunity for Vesey
This afternoon it was revealed that center Kevin Hayes will miss the next two or three weeks after an MRI revealed a lower body injury, according to the official New York Rangers Twitter.
The injury occurred in the second period of yesterday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings. Newsday’s Steve Zipay tweeted afterwards that he saw Hayes limping with a brace on his left leg.
This is a pretty big blow to the Rangers’ lineup. Hayes filled in remarkably well for Mika Zibanejad and is an integral part of the depth that has been a main reason for the Rangers success. Hayes is third on the team in scoring with 35 points (13-22-35), and was previously on pace for a 61 point season.
With Hayes out, Alain Vigneault will have to decide who plays center now. Oscar Lindberg could move up to the third line and Brandon Pirri could shift to center, or JT Miller could play center on the third line.
Although I’m usually against shifting Miller to center because he’s been very good on the wings, I think it would be wise to do so for the time being. Oscar Lindberg has not shown the offensive ability to warrant a third line role, and Brandon Pirri has been invisible for long stretches.
Moving Miller to center would also clear up a wing spot for Jimmy Vesey, who is currently on the fourth line because Nash and Zibanejad are healthy and Michael Grabner keeps scoring goals. But a third line of Jimmy Vesey, JT Miller and Michael Grabner would maintain a combination of playmaking, scoring and speed.
Jimmy Vesey has had a rough time recently. He hasn’t scored since Dec. 31 and doesn’t have a shot on goal in the last five game. Being stranded on the fourth line doesn’t help. With Hayes out, there’s a good chance we’ll see Vesey back in the top nine and he needs to capitalize in a scoring role. A few goals could help him find his mojo and get some confidence back.
Posted on January 23, 2017, in Rangers Updates and tagged Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Hayes injury, Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NHL, NYR, NYR blog, Rangers, Rangers blog, Rangers lines, Rangers lineup. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.