On one hand, Jimmy Vesey choosing to play for the New York Rangers spares us all from a winter of trying to correct people when saying his name wrong. On the other, the Blackhawks need more good forwards.
You can see my dilemma.
In the end, Vesey did exactly what was rumored the whole time – he wanted to play close to home.
The Vesey chase, in general, was an interesting look at the current state of the league and its top teams. You had pretty much every cap-strapped team throwing a crazy pitch together which involved celebrity tweets, videos, star players attending the meetings, owners writing him into their wills, cities willing to change street names, etc. All for a guy that is projected to top out at a 40-50 point player.
Buuuuuut, he also has limitations on his maximum contract. It’s pretty easy to see why everyone close to touching the cap ceiling would have an interest in a player that could give them a decent value (at least through his first contract).
Is this something that a healthy league would be facing? Probably not. If you could imagine a league where the hard cap wasn’t a continual limbo dance for the majority of its teams, many would have already answered their depth issues prior to August 15 and wouldn’t have been able to promise Vesey a spot in their top 12. Teams like the Rangers, Blackhawks and Bruins would’ve already built their roster depth in July and spent their money on known assets and taken the risk of overpayment rather than tossing their first borns over a cliff to impress Jimmy Vesey.
This is the NHL, though and it’s something we should probably get used to happening. Until the next lockout when language is written into the players agreement that prevents rookies from doing this.
As for the Blackhawks, losing out on Vesey is a slight bummer. He certainly would’ve helped in the “Lack of decent forward options” department. I’ve never really bought into the fact he would’ve been a shoo-in on Toews’ line for 82 games.
Let’s be serious. He would’ve bounced around between every line. But he’s a decent player so he’s a better option than say, LOCAL GUY Vince Hinostroza. So Vesey would’ve made the Hawks better for that reason alone. Unfortunately, Liam Neeson may have got involved and there’s really no way to compete with that.
On the other hand, the Blackhawks and rookies with bonus-incentive laden contracts tend to just create bigger headaches down the line. So maybe this spares us pain in the next summer.
Should the Hawks continue to scrounge in the Target $1 dollar section, the options moving forward aren’t anything great. There’s Jiri Hudler, who I suspect may end up just booking for the KHL, and guys like Brandon Pirri or Tomas Fleischmann who may prefer living in Siberia than playing for Joel Quenneville ever again.
If the Hawks don’t end up bargain shopping, they’ll likely look ahead to training camp and take a hard look at guys like HEARTman, Hinostroza, Schmaltz, etc. to evaluate what they have. If they’re unimpressed, they’ll be on the lookout for teams with excessive young forward depth who may be lacking in defensemen. With the Kempney and Campbell signings, the Hawks have a growing list of players who are reaching their AHL expiration date.
What you could expect to acquire in a deal like that is a player that was previously thought of highly but has fallen down a team’s depth chart for whatever reasons and is still on his entry level contract.
That’s basically the list of options left as the end of the off-season draws closer. So you can see why Jimmy Vesey was pursued as he was.