Justin Vaive


Buffalo New York

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4th round (92nd overall), 2007


230 lbs.

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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 is skating for the AHL's Bridgeport Tigers in 2015-16 after signing his first entry-level contract. At 26-years-old and in his fifth pro season Vaive's upside is limited but he's willing to play a sound positional game and do all the little things necessary to help his team win.

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.
Read more»

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.

Read more»

Ducks organizational depth analysis, Fall 2009

by Kyle Kujawa

Entering the first full season with GM Bob Murray at the helm, the Anaheim Ducks are at a crossroads for their franchise going forward. The mark of Brian Burke is still very visible on this team, and it will remain so for the next few seasons. There are many players in the system that fit Burke’s trademarks of aggression, size, toughness, and some scoring.

However, once Murray took over last season, he was able to put his own flavor on the team through some deadline deals and high-profile offseason moves. Murray traded for highly-touted prospects in Luca Sbisa and Nick Bonino, and was also to grab some offense at the draft in Peter Holland and Nick Palmieri.

Anaheim is very strong on the blueline going forward. There isn’t as much depth up front or in goal, but there are several promising players at both positions who may be on the right track.

Left Wing

Matt Beleskey is the most promising prospect at this position. He’s one of just five players in Anaheim’s system to land a job in the Read more»

NTDP well represented at Frozen Four

by Ken McKenna

If the measure of an amateur athletic program is the promotion of its trainees to bigger and better things, then the 2009 Frozen Four tournament taking place in Washington, D.C. provides ample evidence of the strength of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Eleven players taking part in the NCAA‘s showcase event spent time in the NTDP before moving on to their college careers, including eight players from the Boston University squad and three players representing Miami University.

Given the fact that many of the players that sign on to the NTDP program have an eye toward a career in the NHL, the ultimate indicator of success of this program is the number of players that are drafted by an NHL club. And in recent years, the number of draftees has been impressive, with several NTDP players annually being ranked among the top prospects for the NHL Draft.

But the presence of so many NTDP players at the Frozen Four is a definite feather in the cap of USA Hockey, the organization responsible for the development of this program. The eleven players taking part at this year’s tourney provides further evidence of the program’s success while also providing a vital stepping stone in the player’s path towards a pro hockey career. Read more»

2009 Frozen Four preview

by DJ Powers

It’s down to the final four teams vying for the national championship: Bemidji State University, Boston University, Miami University and the University of Vermont.

Of the four participants, only Boston University has won a National Championship. Bemidji State has won six National Championships but all have come at either the D-II or D-III level.

This year’s Frozen Four takes place at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The semi-final games get underway on Thursday, April 9, with Game #1 beginning at 4pm EST and Game #2 beginning at 7pm ET. Both games will be carried live on ESPN2.

The winners of the semi-final games move on to the National Championship game on Saturday, April 11, which will be carried live on ESPN at 7pm ET.

Between the semi-final games and the National Championship game on Friday, April 10 is the Frozen Four Skills Challenge as well as the presentation of the Hobey Baker and Hockey Humanitarian Awards. The Hobey Baker Award presentation will be carried live on ESPNU at 7pm ET.

This year’s Frozen Four also features 23 prospects representing 15 NHL teams. All participating teams have at least one NHL prospect on their roster. Boston University has the most with 13, followed by Miami with five, Vermont with four and Bemidji State with one.

Below is a preview of the semi-final games.

Game #1: Bemidji State University vs. Miami University

Read more»