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Vesey “returns” to Buffalo

Harvard grad finally set for Sabres debut

For the second time in three years, the Sabres tried to land Jimmy Vesey, and he will finally make his Sabres debut this Thursday.  

After finishing his collegiate career, in which he earned 144 career points (80 goals, 64 assists) during his four years at Harvard University, he chose to become an unrestricted free agent. As a result of “Vesey Watch” and the role Buffalo played in it during the summer of 2016, Sabres fans became familiar with Vesey and what he brings to a franchise.


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Former Sabres GM Tim Murray traded a 3rd-round pick to the Nashville Predators in order to acquire his negotiating rights, with the goal of getting him signed before free agency opened. However, Vesey chose to hit free agency and signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers. After three years in New York, he was traded for a 3rd-round pick, and both positive and negative feelings were shared by fans. Despite all of that, Vesey can play in a variety of roles for the Sabres this season, both offensively and defensively.

After scoring 50 goals and 90 points in 240 games played for the Rangers, Vesey will likely play on any of the top three lines, and his potential impact on the team will be affected by how he is used in Ralph Krueger’s system. Over the last week of training camp, he has been practicing alongside Casey Mittlestadt and Conor Sheary. There is also the potential to play alongside Jack Eichel this year, although Victor Olofsson has been playing on Eichel’s left-wing through most of training camp and the preseason.

While Vesey reached career highs last season in goals (17) and points (35) in 81 games played, the most he has played in his NHL career, there is more room for growth in his game entering only his fourth NHL season. The way his game develops this year will be interesting to monitor, since he could have a breakout year considering how he’s played thus far, along with this also being a contract year for Vesey. His role on special teams will also be interesting to follow, considering that he has scored 43 of his 50 career goals at even strength. While his role on the team is likely to change as the season goes on, it will be interesting to see if he makes an impact aside from his even-strength play or if he continues to specialize in that area.


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One of the more important areas for improvement from Vesey is in the goals department, although his 17 goals would have ranked fourth on the Sabres last year. While it may be wishful thinking to believe that he could become a 25-goal scorer for the Sabres this season, scoring at least 20 should be an objective for him. The coaching staff also has a responsibility to help put him in that position to succeed and see what he can provide to the team. While Vesey has not yet reached the heights many predicted when he was a free agent three years ago, a fresh start in Buffalo could be a benefit for him as well as the team.


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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
5028-10-1268
4829-15-462
4827-16-559
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
4933-11-571
4931-13-567
4828-15-561
Wild Card leaders:
5026-16-860
4928-18-359
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4926-17-658
4925-17-757
4922-20-751
5022-21-751
4723-20-450
4817-23-842
4817-24-741
5012-34-428
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
4930-11-868
4928-15-662
4827-17-458
Pacific Division Leaders:
4927-18-458
4926-18-557
5026-19-557
Wild Card leaders:
5125-19-757
5126-20-557
-----------------------------------------
4925-20-454
5024-20-654
4722-18-751
4922-21-650
5021-25-446
4819-24-543
5018-27-541