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The New York Rangers’ Busy Offseason: The New Guys (Part 1)

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NYR sign 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jimmy Vesey.

NYR sign 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jimmy Vesey.

Yahoo Sports/Getty Images

Yahoo Sports/Getty Images

NYR sign 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jimmy Vesey.

Jenna Febbo, Health and Beauty Editor

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In last week’s post, I gave the run down on who the New York Rangers traded and who got re-signed. This week, I will be introducing you to three new faces of the Rangers. These three could be a very big part of the Rangers’ future.

The New (The Future)

Jimmy Vesey – The New York Rangers won the Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes! What? How? Is this real? Yep, it’s real and it literally shocked everybody. Vesey, former Harvard captain and 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner, opted out of signing with the Nashville Predators, the team that drafted him 66th overall, and the Buffalo Sabres, who traded for his rights at the 2016 NHL Draft. After his rights were traded, many figured he would sign with the Sabres. That was not the case. Vesey’s agent made it clear that he still wanted to explore free agency.

On August 15th, Vesey became a free agent. 12 teams requested to meet with him. He agreed to meet with seven teams – the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders, the New Jersey Devils, the Boston Bruins (his hometown team), the Chicago Blackhawks, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Vesey stated that he wanted to be close to home (Boston). Apparently, he didn’t want to be that close because, on August 19th, he signed with the New York Rangers.

Vesey wants a top six role and ample playing time. That is something I really don’t see the Rangers giving him (not right away, at least). So how did the Rangers convince him to sign with them? Was it his childhood friend, and current Rangers center, Kevin Hayes? Or was it the random celebrity Rangers “fans” that tweeted him? It was probably Susan Sarandon that got through to him.

Vesey agreed to a two-year, entry-level contract at $925,000 per year, with a possibility of performance bonuses.

Mika Zibanejad – Zibanejad was the main return piece in the Rangers’ trade that sent Derick Brassard to the Ottawa Senators. He is a 23-year-old, Swedish center that was drafted 6th overall by the Ottawa Senators and has played his entire NHL career with them. In 281 games with the Sens, Zibanejad has recorded 151 points (64 goals and 87 assists). He set career highs last season with 21 goals, 30 assists, and 51 points.

Zibanejad is a pretty big guy at 6’2 and 222lbs. He’s also a pretty proven player, which makes the fact that he’s going to be a Restricted Free Agent at the end of the 2016-2017 a bit scary. If he continues his impressive play, he is going to want some big bucks.

Pavel Buchnevich – Buch, affectionately known by fans already (mostly because his name doesn’t slide off the tongue too easily), was one of the Rangers’ most coveted prospects. The beginning of this summer was filled with fans anxiously awaiting the announcement of his signing. They didn’t have to wait that long because on May 13, the announcement came. Buchnevich is a 21-year-old Russian winger that the Rangers drafted 75th overall in the 2013 draft. He has spent the last five years playing in the KHL in Russia.

Buch describes himself as a playmaker and his excellent passing and vision prove that. He’s got some bulking up to do, at 6’2 and 176 pounds, but his very strong core will help him in the meantime. He also has a nice shot and is a pretty good skater. It will probably take some time for him to adjust so the Rangers, and fans, shouldn’t expect him to make waves right away.

Buchnevich agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal at $925,000 per year.

Next Week: The New Guys Part 2 (The Bottom Six Revamp)

 

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