NHL’s trade deadline an anxiety-inducing period for players


Two years ago, as the trade deadline approached, the Devils found themselves in a clear selling position. Under GM Tom Fitzgerald, the team ended the season 37 points out of the playoffs, and a late slide did not affect their standing. Jimmy Vesey, a valuable fourth-line penalty killer on a one-year, $800,000 deal earned from a training camp tryout, was a sought-after commodity in the market. Recalling that time, Vesey, then on his fourth team after a three-season tenure with the Rangers, thought he might be traded due to his penalty-killing skills. Despite inquiries from a couple of teams, no trade materialized. The Devils, in a surprising lack of activity, did not make any trades at the deadline that year.

In 2022, it was believed that the Rangers were among the teams interested in Vesey. However, when they acquired Tyler Motte a week before the deadline, addressing their need for a fourth-line penalty killer, Vesey remained with the Devils. The situation took a turn when Vesey joined the Rangers last season and, in an unexpected twist, they reacquired Motte at the 2023 deadline to play alongside Vesey.

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Speaking about the upcoming trade deadline, Vesey highlighted the different reactions players have based on their circumstances and emphasized the focus on how management can improve a team. As the Rangers approach the March 8 deadline with 12 games to play, their perspective is clear—they are looking to buy. The extent of their moves is yet unknown, with identified needs in the middle of the third line, the right wing on the Mika Zibanejad-Chris Kreider line, and a physical defenseman on the left side of the third pair, though the team’s hierarchy may not share the same perspective on the latter.

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