The Rangers and Sabres have held discussions regarding a trade involving winger Jimmy Vesey, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports in his latest 31 Thoughts column. This isn’t the first time that Buffalo has gone after him either as they acquired his negotiating rights back in 2016 back when Tim Murray was their GM. However, Vesey opted to not sign with the Sabres and went to New York instead.
While Vesey hasn’t become a top-end scorer as he was during his tenure at Harvard, he has emerged as a capable secondary scorer with the Rangers. He’s coming off of a career-best 35 points in 2018-19 and has scored at least 16 goals in each of his three NHL seasons.
New York’s in the middle of their youth movement and the wing position is about to get more crowded in the near future. 2018 first-rounder Vitali Kravtsov and the presumptive number two pick Kaapo Kakko could both be in the mix for playing time as soon as October and playing time for them could come at Vesey’s expense. At the very least, their presence will lessen the need for them to lock him up to a long-term deal.
The 26-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, one that carries a $2.275MM AAV but most notably, he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Buffalo can certainly afford the cap hit and it’s likely they believe that a change of scenery could help him take that next step forward in his development. As trade talks begin to pick up with the draft now less than a week away, this will be something to keep an eye on in the days to come.