Rangers need to give Vinni Lettieri a legit shot next season

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When the Rangers went from John Tortorella to Alain Vigneault a few years back, I was a little spooked that certain players may not get a fair shot with new blood. One of those players was Mats Zuccarello. Mats was always under utilized by Torts and at times, it seemed as if he was not going to be a Ranger for long. Luckily, the Rangers kept him around and Zuccarello blossomed under Alain Vigneault’s system and is now a Rangers mainstay.

The same should be done for Vinni Lettieri. I have this strange feeling that the Rangers will let him walk or deal him, and in turn he will blossom somewhere else. Now, I am aware that he doesn’t possess the skill set that Zuccarello has, but one of the things I noticed is he is good with the puck in the corners and seemingly has the potential to have a rough and tough style to him. He’s also a right handed shot that is lethal on the power play when used correctly. The influx of youth this team has acquired may bump him down and usurp his spot on the chart, which adds to my point mentioned earlier.

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In only 19 games for New York, he scored his first NHL goal but only scored 4 more points after. He was scratched numerous times and personally, wasn’t given a fair shot. You’re telling me he can’t do any worse than Cody McLeod? In Hartford, things were different. In 55 games, he amassed 23 goals and 13 assists, proving to be one of the Wolf Pack’s more productive forwards. I’m sure he can be a reliable asset for the Rangers and the new regime if used properly. Here’s Wolf Pack coach Keith McCambridge’s thoughts on Lettieri’s game and style…

“The most dangerous weapon for Vinni Lettieri is his shot,” he said. “He’s tenacious on pucks and wants to make a different every time he’s on the ice. He has good skating ability with his quickness to get into a position to use his shot. When you look at areas for a guy who wants to score goals and wants to play in the offensive zone, he has learned the importance of making sure he’s good defensively in his own zone to give him those chances to use that offensive weapon in the offensive zone.” Matt Calamia/New York Rangers.com

One thing the Rangers lacked down the line and clearly, for some time is grit. Although he may not light up the board or wow you with a dangle, it seems apparent that Lettieri can fit this role, if used properly. Hopefully, a new coach can utilize younger players properly and allow certain players to grow into roles they can thrive in. I feel Lettieri can contribute and he seems eager to try and make an impact next season (if he’s still here)..

With the taste of the NHL there, Lettieri goes into the summer with one goal in mind for next season: make the team and stick in New York.

“Just work hard and try to outwork the next guy,” Lettieri said of his summer workout plans, which includes working on his skating, shot and his stick handling. “Whether that’s putting in extra work when people aren’t watching or when people aren’t doing things.

“I’ve always done that,” he added, “so that’s just a staple in my summer.”

Matt Calamia/New York Rangers.com

 

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