2017 Leafs Top Prospects: #37 Nolan Vesey

Living under your older brother’s shadows is never fun. At least, that’s what I hear; I’m the older one in this family, so I’ve never had to worry about it. Nolan Vesey has, though; two years younger than his brother Jimmy, the Toronto winger prospect is still working towards a potential professional career.

Age 22 (March 28, 1995) Birthplace North Reading, Massachusetts
Pos Left Wing (LH) Drafted 2014 (Rd 6, Pick 158)
Vitals 6’1, 198lbs Acquired Via Draft

Comparing the two brothers is interesting, really. They’re both about the same size, and the two were surprisingly neck and neck at a few stages of their careers. Nolan’s high school numbers are a bit more impressive than Jimmy’s, though Jimmy had a much bigger Junior A draft year. Both produced about the same as college freshmen, but Nolan regressed and slowly recovered while Jimmy slowly improved before exploding in his Junior and Senior years.

That’s not to say that Nolan is entirely spinning tires by comparison to his now NHL-playing brother, though.

16  2011-12  Austin Prep  USHS ? 16 22 38
17  2012-13  Austin Prep  USHS 24 21 13 34 9.3
18  2013-14  South Shore Kings  USPHL Premier 48 26 40 66 30
19  2014-15  Univ. of Maine  NCAA 36 10 13 23 37 19.9 -6
20  2015-16  Univ. of Maine  NCAA 36 5 6 11 41 9.6 -11
21  2016-17  Univ. of Maine  NCAA 36 13 10 23 36 19.9 -8

Nolan’s University of Maine Blackbears haven’t been the highest scoring of teams in recent history (and in his dip season, they were flat-out awful), so while that 23 in 36 pace doesn’t seem super fantastic, his totals still land him third in points and goals on the team, behind a pair of seniors in Cam Brown and 2013 Pittsburgh Penguins pick Blaine Byron, who signed with the Springfield Thunderbirds this summer.

pGPSn pGPSs Exp. Success % Exp. P/82 Exp. Value
403 (5/31) 12 (T19/31) 3.4% (28/31) 30.0 (16/31) 1.0 (27/31)

The above numbers are products of the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System (pGPS), created by Canucks Army to project a prospect’s odds of becoming an NHL regular. For a run-down on what each of these stats mean, head back to the introduction.

All the same, most players who come out of college and succeed in the NHL tend to dominate their way through it, or even jump out early thanks to the success they have at a younger age. Vesey hasn’t had that, so while he has many pro comparables to stack himself up against, the odds of him sticking for a long NHL career at this point are low; among the lowest in the organization, in fact.

Qualitatively, Vesey is a pretty uneventful player. He’s not particularly big or small, he’s a capable skater but not to the point of bragging rights, and talk of his two-way game seems to be closer to “not great or awful at anything” more than it is a preface before he starts flanking Nazem Kadri on the shutdown line.

The Upcoming Year

This is going to be a do-or-die season for Vesey if he plans on making his way into the NHL. There are players that have had 0.6 point/game seasons in the NCAA and become regulars in this league, but those are few and far between when you start getting into senior years. He’ll definitely play it out, though, and will likely take on a leadership role with the team.

Long-Term Outlook

Even with his father still being in the Leafs organization, I can’t see anything short of a miraculous spike season leading the team to give him an entry-level deal. He doesn’t score enough to be on many NHL radars, and he’s not spectacular enough at anything to find himself a niche role. Perhaps he gets himself an AHL contract to prove himself in a third or fourth line setting in 2018/19, but I’m not even sure the Marlies would be the team that gives him that. I’d probably consider him out of sight, out of mind at this point.

To see the other profiles in this year’s series, please reference the full list.

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