Justin Vaive


Buffalo New York

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Eligible for draft:








4th round (92nd overall), 2007


230 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • D


2006-07: Justin Vaive skated for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program’s U18 team and competed for the USA U18 team at the 2007 World Junior Championship. He scored 7 goals with 8 assists and 49 penalty minutes in 43 games with the NTDP squad and scored 3 goals with 3 assists and 2 penalty minutes in seven games at the World Junior Championship. Vaive was selected by Anaheim in the fourth round (92nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft.

2007-08: Vaive scored 3 goals with 7 assists and 65 penalty minutes in 41 games as a freshman at the University of Miami. The RedHawks finished second behind Michigan in the CCHA regular season and advanced to the finals of both the CCHA and NCAA Northeast Regional tournaments

2008-09: Vaive saw more offensive responsibilities and improved his numbers in his sophomore season at Miami. He scored 6 goals with 6 assists and 44 penalty minutes in 37 games. After finishing in a second-place tie with Michigan during the CCHA regular season and being upset by Northern Michigan in a three-game CCHA quarterfinal series, the RedHawks regrouped in the NCAA tournament, reaching the Frozen Four Championship game before falling to Boston University, 4-3, in overtime using a lineup that featured four sophomores among its top five scorers.

2009-10: Vaive played a lower line role for the University of Miami in his junior season, scoring 5 goals with 3 assists and 51 penalty minutes in 43 games. After finishing third in the CCHA tournament, Miami advanced to the Frozen Four for the second consecutive season with a memorable double overtime win over Michigan in the Midwest Regional final.

2010-11: Vaive skated in 39 games for Miami in his senior season. He scored 9 goals with 7 assists and was +2 with 48 penalty minutes. The RedHawks captured the CCHA playoff title with a 5-2 win over upstart Western Michigan but were knocked off by New Hampshire, 3-1, in the NCAA Northeast Regional tournament a week later. Vaive was not signed to a contract by Anaheim, becoming an unrestricted free agent.

2011-12: Vaive signed an AHL contract with San Antonio in his first professional season. He skated in 15 games with the Rampage, spending most of the year with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. He had no points and was -3 with 10 penalty minutes with San Antonio. Vaive scored 6 goals with 12 assists and was -14 with 65 penalty minutes in 45 regular season games for the Cyclones.

2012-13: Vaive skated in 41 AHL games with San Antonio in his second pro season and was with the Cincinnati Cyclones during their playoff run to the ECHL’s Eastern Conference finals. He scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +1 with 38 penalty minutes skating for the Rampage. Vaive scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was -1 with 10 penalty minutes in six regular season games for Cincinnati. In 15 ECHL playoff games he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and had an even plus/minus with 21 penalty minutes. The Cyclones lost to eventual Kelly Cup champion Reading in the Eastern Conference finals.

2013-14: Vaive signed an AHL contract with New York Rangers’ affiliate Hartford in January 2014 after beginning the season with the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. In 27 AHL games he scored 1 goal with 4 assists and was +5 with 31 penalty minutes. Vaive scored 10 goals with 8 assists and was +5 with 20 penalty minutes in 13 regular season games for Greenville. He re-joined the Road Warriors for the ECHL playoffs, scoring 6 goals with 5 assists and was +3 with 14 penalty minutes.

2014-15: Vaive spent the season with Rangers’ AHL affiliate Hartford, skating in a full-time role in the AHL for the first time in his four-year pro career. He scored 14 goals with 18 assists and was -3; leading all Wolf Pack forwards with 94 penalty minutes. Hartford finished first in the Northeast Division and reached the playoff semifinals. Vaive had 1 assist and was -4 with 10 penalty minutes in eight playoff games. The New York Islanders signed Vaive to his first NHL contract, a one-year deal, as a restricted free agent in July 2015.

Talent Analysis

Vaive is blessed with mammoth size and is a bull on the ice. He makes room for himself and his teammates and thrives at imposing his will along the boards and in the corners. He is quite capable of cycling the puck down low. Vaive's skating has improved during his pro career but is still an issue. His offensive abilities are limited though he supplied some secondary points for Rangers' AHL affiliate Hartford in 2014-15.


Vaive was thought to be a raw, long-term project when he was drafted and that was proven to be the case. He was signed by the Islanders to his first NHL contract in July 2015, eight years after being drafted by Anaheim. He will never approach the offensive numbers of his famous father, Rick Vaive, but his size and competitive attitude could find him a lower line NHL roster spot in the right situation.

New York Islanders prospects help AHL affiliate out of basement

by Christian Litscher
Photo: Kevin Czuczman has 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) in 36 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season. (Courtesy of Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

Photo: Kevin Czuczman has 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) in 36 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season. (Courtesy of Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

After finishing in the basement of the AHL standings over the past few seasons, the New York Islanders AHL affiliate has found success this year and currently sits third in the Atlantic Division. They have a 16-12-3 record due to solid goaltending and great depth, led offensively by a new face in Joe Whitney, who has been among the AHL scoring leaders all season long. Read more»

One prospect in Ducks organization remaining from 2007 draft

by Andrew Knoll
Photo: Eric Tangradi (PIT) was one of five forwards drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. Tangradi went to Pittsburgh in part of a package deal that brought in former Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney. (Photo courtesy of Ian Altenbaugh/HF)

Still soaring from their Stanley Cup victory, Brian Burke and company sought to round out the Ducks’ organizational depth in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Their selections were concentrated in the middle of the draft as they owned four fourth-round selections in addition to their first, second, third and fifth-round picks. Despite having young forwards like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Dustin Penner at the time, the Ducks went with four straight forwards to open the draft. They would select a fifth forward as well as two goaltenders and a defenseman.
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Anaheim Ducks depth analysis, Fall 2010

by Kevin Forbes

Anaheim’s 2007 Stanley Cup victory came at a cost to Ducks organizational pipeline. With the focus on ‘winning now’, the team traded prospects and draft picks for additions that could immediately contribute. Now, three years later, Anaheim’s system is rebounding well. Although there is still a definite lack of top flight talent (thanks in part to strong on-ice results over the past five years, excluding last season), the organization boasts a number of intriguing prospects on the blue line, as well as a significant allotment of two-way forwards and depth between the pipes.

Left Wing
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Ducks 2009-10 NCAA prospects update

by Kyle Kujawa

Anaheim has dipped more into the college ranks through the past few drafts. They have eight prospects playing in the NCAA, up from just five last year and including a first-round pick from each of the past two drafts.

Jake Gardiner, D
Sophomore, University of Wisconsin
Drafted 1st round, 17th overall, 2008

After a promising rookie season, Gardiner’s game has taken a step back this season. He’s produced only three points in 20 games on the season after 21 as a freshman. A big part of the lack of production has to do with Gardiner being slotted into more of a defensive role. Brendan Smith (DET) receives most of the power-play minutes, so Gardiner is focused more on the defensive end of the ice.

The smooth-skating defenseman will likely step into that role if Smith turns professional after the season, as expected. From a development standpoint, it’s a move that could pay off for Gardiner, as he converted to defense from forward while in high school.
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NCAA college prospects notebook, October

by DJ Powers

The opening month of the 2009-10 NCAA college hockey season featured a little bit of just about everything. Below is a look at back at some of the high (and low) lights of the month. Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are current as of Nov. 1 and are for all non-exhibition games.

Spartans resurgent

The 2008-09 season couldn’t end soon enough for the Michigan State, but fast forward seven months later into a whole new season, and the Spartans are back in top form.

At this time last season, the Spartans posted just 13 goals through eight games. This season that number has more than doubled to 29, which also leads the nation.

Two players that have been significant contributors to the Spartans’ early season success are junior Corey Tropp (BUF) and freshman Derek Grant (OTT).

Tropp, who was suspended for the duration of the 2008-09 season following an incident in the Jan. 25 game at Michigan then reinstated in March, has been on tear for Michigan State since the season began. The junior winger from Grosse Pointe Woods, MI currently ranks second in the nation with 13 points (seven goals, six assists). His seven goals also co-lead the nation. Tropp’s highlight performance of the season thus far came on Oct. 16 when he posted his first career hat trick in the Spartans 5-3 win at Maine.

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