‘I Love All These People Here’: Jakub Vrana’s Star Continued To Grow At Capitals’ Parade

Much was made in the past few days of the fact that the Rangers hadn’t used one of their first-round picks since 2012, when they took Skjei 28th overall. Skjei turned 22 in March, meaning that as prospects go, he’s no real spring chicken or phenom. This is the point at which a first-round defenseman really ought to be in the league, so here we are. He’s probably quite good for what he’ll be used as, but if he’s much more than that, it’s manna from heaven.

That’s really the point here: This is the Rangers raging against the dying of the legit Cup hopes. If they’re not gone already. Which they probably are. Vesey might have chosen them because they have plenty of cap flexibility coming for the end of his current two-year deal, meaning that if he performs very, very well during that time, he might be able to pull more than the inflation-adjusted equivalent of the apparent bridge deal Kevin Hayes just signed (two years, $2.6 million per). Of course, we might also be just a year away from another lockout for 2019-20 by then, so you never know when teams like the Rangers might opt for caution here instead.

It’s really tough to see why either party makes this decision. For Vesey, he would likely be guaranteed more than a chance to stick in the top-six with a team that had a little less offensive depth than the Rangers, and certainly a few would have given him the chance to actually do more than make the playoffs and get run out pretty quickly.

In terms of where the Rangers’ Cup chances actually sit, the wave has clearly already crested and is in the process of crashing and retreating back into the sea. There’s simply less hope there than anywhere else. And for the Rangers, Vesey doesn’t address any particular or clear need. Other than the one to grab headlines in August.

People think Kevin Hayes — 31 goals and 81 points in his first two NHL seasons — is a disappointment for the Rangers. (It’s mostly because Alain Vigneault seems not to recognize that the 24-year-old can handle a heavier workload.) He’s 17th in the league in 5-on-5 primary assists over the past two seasons. If Vesey can do anything close to that, it would be a minor miracle.

It is therefore difficult to see where either party really benefits here. The Rangers don’t need Vesey (not that there’s a negative here, really; they just don’t actually need him). Vesey, given that every option he entertained was going to be virtually the same, doesn’t need the Rangers.

And yet here we are. Tough to figure.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: It would be a lot easier to believe this were it not for the whole “Jonathan Bernier” thing.

Arizona Coyotes: Never have I disagreed with a headline more fervently.

Boston Bruins: Matt Beleskey would know a thing or two about bad decisions. He signed with the Bruins.

Buffalo Sabres: This is the kind of fanboy-ish whining that makes #Veseywatch worth it, in my opinion.

Calgary Flames: Let’s not go nuts. Monahan is a No. 2 center. I get that he scores a ton of goals, but when you play with Johnny Gaudreau you really ought to.

Carolina Hurricanes: Basically anyone Carolina loses in next summer’s expansion draft isn’t necessarily going to hurt them, so hey, that’s as good a position as you can possibly be in.

Chicago: No real surprise here.

Colorado Avalanche: If the Avs get Travis Green out of this whole Roy thing, that will be very, very good for them.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Speaking of which, Columbus AHL coach Jared Bednar, who just won the Calder Cup, is said to be a valued candidate here.

Dallas Stars: Wait, is there a lot of “preseason hype” around the Stars? Don’t we all think they’re going to take a step back based on their blue line and stagnant goaltending situation?

Detroit Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin got to fly in stunt planes over the weekend. This is perhaps the most exciting thing about the Red Wings this year.

Edmonton Oilers: This isn’t pessimism, it’s just realism.

Florida Panthers: Olli Jokinen is starting a year-round hockey school in Southern Florida. Man, remember Olli Jokinen? He scored 89 and 91 points in back-to-back seasons one time. There was a five-year stretch in which he missed just one game, and scored 173 goals. Dude was real good once.

Los Angeles Kings: This is a summer nearly bereft of Kings news. Sorry everyone. I know you love that Kings news.

Las Vegas No-Names: Jason Zucker and Deryk Engelland played in a charity game in Vegas. Boy they’re trying to grow that market in a hurry.

Minnesota Wild: They should have signed Vesey!

Montreal Canadiens: It’s not always easy to remember that Torrey Mitchell is still in the league, let alone playing for Montreal these days.

Nashville Predators: The team could soon overhaul their entire arena

and add more toilets. Hell yeah.

New Jersey Devils: Yeah Pavel Zacha might need to be more than “depth” for the Devils’ offense, to be honest.

New York Islanders: The Islanders are going to look quite different next year, and John Tavares doesn’t know how to handle it yet.

New York Rangers: We all know the answer to this question, Leslie.

Ottawa Senators: Wow, Logan Brown. They did it!

Philadelphia Flyers: Claude, do not try to touch that bear’s butt.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Turns out players want to stay with good teams that are fun to play on where there are also a lot of other really talented guys. Who knew?

San Jose Sharks: One wonders what Timo Meier actually does with the Sharks this year. Maybe they can’t even afford to roll him out a little cautiously, given the future of the club a year or three from now.

St. Louis Blues: This seems sub-optimal.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jon Cooper is quite optimistic about Jonathan Drouin’s pending improvement. And why not, really?

Toronto Maple Leafs: Ah well, losing out on Vesey is just one of those things. Doesn’t really matter.

Vancouver Canucks: Ahh, hmm.

Washington Capitals: If the Caps were in the Atlantic Division, they’d probably be in line for another Presidents’ Trophy. Instead, they’re in arguably the toughest division in the league.

Winnipeg Jets: Jacob Trouba will be at the World Cup despite being out of contract with the Jets. Same for Johnny Gaudreau and Calgary. Worrisome!

Gold Star Award

View photos
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I mean, it’s better to get a free agent you want than to not-get him, so well done to Jeff Gorton, I guess.

Minus of the Weekend

But hey if you missed out, honestly, whatever.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “Oleg Petrov” wants to make the Rangers’ blue line… worse?

To NYR: Pacioretty $4.5 until 18-19, Emelin $4.1 until 17-18

To MTL: McDonagh $4.7 until 18-19, Nash (50% retained) $3.9 until 17-18

Signoff

Agh! Das wagenphone ist ein… nuisance-phone!

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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‘I Love All These People Here’: Jakub Vrana’s Star Continued To Grow At Capitals’ Parade

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‘I Love All These People Here’: Jakub Vrana’s Star Continued To Grow At Capitals’ Parade