GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Playing on the road in Philadelphia Thursday, with many regulars not in the lineup for the Rangers’ final preseason game, Jimmy Vesey had his best game, according to Rangers coach David Quinn.
“He certainly was involved a lot more,’’ Quinn said. “And we need him.’’
Though he is entering his third season with the team, Vesey, 25, admitted he was motivated to finish the preseason strong in order to make a good impression on Quinn, who is in his first year as Rangers coach. And he admitted he was relieved to play well in Philadelphia.
“I think everyone wanted to show what they had, and for me, that came in the last game,’’ Vesey said Sunday. “It was definitely good to have that game, and [Quinn] said he’s counting on me to have a good year and be better than last year. So that game, definitely, put me into a good mindset going into the season.’’
Vesey said he is hoping to develop some consistency in his game. After scoring 16 goals as a rookie, he followed that with 17 last year. He thought he should have had more.
“Both years, I think there have been games where I’ve been one of the best players on the ice, and there have been other weeks where I’ve been inconsistent, or kind of quiet, you could say, during games,’’ he said. “I want to be a factor every night.’’
“I think there’s more in there,’’ Quinn said. “I think there’s definitely more goals from him. But I think he’s capable of being a well-rounded player, not just a guy who can contribute offensively. I think he’s a smart player.’’
Vesey said he believes he can be a 20-25 goal-scorer in the NHL, and he said he believes he’ll get there this season just by virtue of being in his third year in the league and being stronger and in better shape. Despite his quiet nature, he said, he is quite competitive, and he wants to bigger contributor than he has been.
Quinn said he believes Vesey “battles self-confidence,’’ but said he after the game in Philadelphia, in which the Harvard product had an assist in the Rangers’ 4-2 win, Vesey has had his best practices since camp started.
“That’s usually what fuels a guy, and he’s no different,’’ Quinn said.
Notes & quotes: D Brandon Crawley, who suffered an abdominal strain in Wednesday’s game, practiced with the team and then was assigned to AHL Hartford . . . The Rangers are off Monday.