After playing one season with the Buffalo Sabres and then joining the Toronto Maple Leafs at the beginning of the 2021 season, Jimmy Vesey found himself in a position to succeed with the Vancouver Canucks when he was picked up off of waivers on March 17th.
He played under 10 minutes in each of his final five games with the Leafs, but during his first five games with the Canucks, he averaged 19:42 of ice time. Vesey was given top-six minutes on a Canucks team whose top six was open to anyone who could produce any kind of offence. Unfortunately for Vesey, the offence just wasn’t there as he did not put up a point in his first 12 games and finished the season with three assists in 20 games for the Canucks.
It was a fine move for the Canucks to take a risk on the 27-year-old winger who scored at a good middle-six rate in the first three years of his NHL career.
This past season, he added a bit of offence with the Leafs in a fourth-line role where he averaged just 11:07 a game. After the move to Vancouver, his offence fell off a cliff.
At five-on-five, he was on the ice for three goals scored and 12 goals against. Vesey looked like he was a decently effective penalty killer but his game at even strength was as quiet as last weekend’s #FireBenning protest outside of Rogers Arena.
Vesey is coming off of a one-year, $900,000 contract and he will once again be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
He was a fine waiver wire pick-up for a team that simply needed healthy bodies. Vesey was healthy scratched three times in the final 23 games of the Canucks’ season. If he is willing to take a league minimum contract, there might be a spot for him to be the 13/14 forward here in Vancouver but I assume that another team is willing to pay a bit more and give him a shot on one of their bottom-six lines.
In Vesey’s 94 minutes of five-on-five ice time with J.T. Miller, the Canucks were only able to score one goal and that is just simply not good enough for a player who hoped to be in the Canucks’ top-six for the final stretch of the season. Other players like Matthew Highmore and even Travis Boyd looked better in the Canucks’ blue and green and have a better shot of making the roster out of camp next season.
Vesey will hit free agency and he will likely get another one-year contract somewhere. He has some skills that are appealing — I thought his defensive game looked good at times and he was pretty solid on the penalty kill in his time here. He killed penalties in all 20 games for the Canucks and in those 20 games, he averaged over a minute and a half of penalty kill time. Throughout the 20 games, he was only on the ice for two goals against while shorthanded.
The most fun we had with Vesey was his car situation.
If he can round out some parts of his game, he could help a team as a fourth-line winger who kills penalties and might add a tiny bit of offence. I just don’t think it will be here in Vancouver.
His foot speed seemed to be a problem and Jim Benning recently came out and said that the team is looking to add some speed to their bottom-six. Vesey just does not fit that line of thinking. I don’t think he will get a contract offer from the Canucks, but I’ve been shocked by this management group before.