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.

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