NHL.com’s Rob Vollman looked at previous players in Jimmy Vesey’s position and made some predictions as to how his rookie season and NHL career will play out. The results were somewhat underwhelming, and Rangers fans may want to temper their expectations. Based on the fact that Vesey played in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) while at Harvard, rather than in a more talented conference such as Hockey East, Vollman warns that the numbers will likely not translate as well and there should be early struggles against much stronger competition. For this reason, he believes that 30 points is a reasonable estimation for Vesey in 2016-17. As for his career path, Volmann believes that Vesey has a ceiling of past ECAC scoring forwards like Harvard’s Alex Killorn and Dartmouth’s David Jones. While neither player garnered as much attention as Vesey, and both spent time in the AHL in their first pro season, as opposed to Vesey’s guaranteed NHL play time, Vollman still believes that the college numbers and playing styles make Killorn and Jones accurate comparisons. For those (Rangers fans) who disagree with those comparisons, they could be much worse. Even the most prolific ECAC scorers don’t generally end up as NHL regulars. Killorn has 138 points in 272 NHL games thus far in his four-year career, and Jones had 126 points in 272 games with the Colorado Avalanche in his first six seasons. Both had multiple seasons of around 40 points at their peak. However, Jones peak has since passed and Killorn’s is yet to be determined, but at 23 already and with a lot of tread on the tires, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Vesey could be done with his 40 point seasons and on his way down the other side of the production peak in just five or six short years.
- Speaking of David Jones… no one is really speaking of David Jones. It’s been all quiet on the free agency front for the 32-year-old winger this summer. After being linked to the New York Islanders early on in July, there has since been little news. 2015-16 was a forgettable season for the power forward, as he put up only 18 points while splitting the season between the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild. Vesey may project to have a similar career arc to him, but Jones is not the player he was just a few years ago. However, just one year before had scored 30 points for the Flames, and at his best with the Colorado Avalanche was a force in the crease and a consistent 20-goal scorer. Jones seems likely to be a PTO candidate or perhaps even get a late one-year deal for the upcoming season, as his size and strength still remain, but he has simply lost his scoring touch and needs to get back on track. If the NHL free agent market heats up, Jones name may resurface.
- Don’t expect any free agent fireworks from the Dallas Stars. The Stars are happy with their depth and talent at all positions, except for goalie, and NBC Sports’ Jason Brough writes that the goalie tandem is not about to change. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi struggled last season, and never was that more apparent than in the postseason, when the duo almost single-handedly eliminated Dallas from the playoffs. At a combined cap hit of $10.4MM and a league-low .904 save percentage, many thought that something had to change for the Star’s net-minding situation this off-season. However, neither goalie was bought out or to this point traded. It looks as if the tandem will both be donning their green sweaters to start the season after all. Brough says that this close to the season, GM Jim Nill has little that he can do. There is no market for a goalie upgrade and no one is out looking to acquire either of the goalies he already has either. It appears as if Lehtonen and Niemi will be given a second chance in 2016-17, at least until they force Nill’s hand into making a move.