Jimmy Vesey quietly living up to hype

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It felt like it took forever, but ultimately a decision was made rather quickly.

That Jimmy Vesey became a free agent deep in the dog days of summer and took a few days to make a decision helped put the hype machine into overdrive, raising questions as to whether he was really worth all the attention.

Through nine games at the NHL level, the answer seems to be yes.

The process

Here's how it went down.

In choosing to exercise his right to hit the open market, the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner decided against signing with the Nashville Predators - who selected him in the third round (66th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft - as well as with the Buffalo Sabres, who had acquired his rights in exchange for a 2016 third-round pick.

Vesey then became an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16, and following a host of meetings with the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Rangers, he chose to sign an entry-level contract with the Blueshirts on Aug. 19.

Over the course of those four days, and especially in markets spurned by the Harvard graduate, whispers of doubt seemed to grow exponentially, making it imperative that Vesey get off to a decent start, lest he be labeled as a quickly forgotten footnote from the summer of 2016.

The results, so far

Through the opening weeks of the season, the Rangers really couldn't ask for much more out of Vesey.

Games Goals Assists Power-Play Points Shots +/-
9 5 1 2 16 +3

Vesey's fifth goal, scored Sunday in a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, puts him one back of the rookie lead, behind only Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, both of whom have scored six.

Four of his goals have come against the likes of Braden Holtby, Ben Bishop, and Martin Jones, and he's also the only rookie to record two game-winning goals, for whatever that stat is actually worth.

Yes, he's scoring at a success rate of over 30 percent, but he's posted positive shot-attempt differential numbers and has been seeing time on the power play, and was recently promoted to the Rangers' top line alongside Derek Stepan and Rick Nash.

In short, he's earned the trust of the Rangers' coaching staff in short order, and is making the most of his opportunity to shine on Broadway.

That Vesey didn't make his NHL debut until age 23 and took four days to make a decision on which team to begin his career with should not be held against him. It's still early days, but he's proving to be worth the wait, much to the Rangers' delight.

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Jimmy Vesey quietly living up to hype
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