For those tiring of hearing about NCAA free agent Jimmy Vesey, rest assured that the 23-year-old winger is nearing a decision on his destination.
According to a report from ESPN’s Joe McDonald, Vesey has finished meeting with the teams he has interest in joining — seven in total — and will begin discussing the options with his agents today with the possibility of coming to a final decision as early as Friday. Included on Vesey’s list of meetings were the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. That’s not to mention Vesey’s meeting with the Buffalo Sabres, who traded for his rights in mid-June.
Vesey comes with a lot of potential, having scored 56 goals and 114 points in 70 games with Harvard over the past two seasons, and he picked up the Hobey Baker Award in 2016 as the top player in the NCAA. But his performance doesn’t mean money can be used to sway his decision. Each team will have to table similar offers because Vesey will enter the league on a two-year, entry-level deal.
So which team will persuade Vesey to sign on the dotted line? Here are the pros and cons for each team in the running to land the college standout: Read more
With the NHL off-season now in its dog days, notable trade and free-agent activity has slowed to a crawl. As a result, speculation over where promising free-agent prospect Jimmy Vesey could end up is garnering headlines.
Vesey, 23, is the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner. Earlier this year, the Buffalo Sabres acquired his rights from the Nashville Predators in hopes of signing him to an entry-level contract. However, Vesey is eligible for unrestricted free agency on August 15 and intends to test the market.
For the past two months, it was believed the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs were front-runners for Vesey’s services. The college star is a Massachusetts native who grew up cheering for the Bruins. Meanwhile, his brother and father are employed by the Leafs.
As August 15 approaches, however, there are conflicting reports over where the Bruins and Leafs stand among the Vesey suitors.
When Canada and the United States face off it’s for keeps. That evidently goes for games in August, too.
Exhibit A: the hit American defenseman Charlie McAvoy levied on Canadian left winger Lawson Crouse during Saturday’s 5-1 U.S. win in the finale of the World Junior summer showcase tournament in Plymouth, Mich.
Antoine Vermette has officially become an unrestricted free agent following an entirely unexpected buyout that saw the 34-year-old sent packing by the Arizona Coyotes.
Vermette told RDS that he understands the reasoning behind the move from the Coyotes’ perspective. With young talent on the rise in Arizona, the management needed to make a decision that would allow room for the Dylan Stromes and Christian Dvoraks of the organization to have their chance at making the club out of training camp.
“Given the change in leadership, the youth movement started last year and that the best hopes of the organization are centers, I could see that it was only a matter of time,” Vermette told RDS.
Still, it caught him off guard. Vermette said he didn’t expect to be sent packing so soon or by way of a buyout, but the Coyotes assured him it had “no connection with (his) performance on the ice,” Vermette told RDS.
Even when Vermette signs elsewhere, he will still count against the Coyotes’ salary cap for $1.25 million. It seems like a lot of money to pay a player to go away — and looks worse when you add Mike Ribeiro’s $1.444 million buyout cap hit, which means Arizona will pay nearly $2.7 million to players on other teams — but Vermette’s buyout cap hit isn’t even among the top five in the league. More surprisingly, the combined buyout cap hits of Vermette and Ribeiro aren’t even the worst pair of buyouts in the league.
Here are the five biggest buyout cap hits for the upcoming season: Read more
The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided arbitration with winger Alex Killorn by re-signing him Sunday to a seven-year, $31.25-million contract. The annual cap hit ($4.45 million), however, leaves the Lightning with just over $8.5 million of cap room and restricted free agents Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestinkov and Nikita Nesterov to re-sign.
Kucherov, 23, is completing an entry-level contract with an average annual salary of over $849K. Coming off two straight 60-plus point campaigns and leading the Lightning in scoring during the 2016 playoffs, he could push for a raise of around $6-million per season
The 23-year-old Namestnikov has a player-elected arbitration hearing slated for July 29. The versatile checking center is finishing up a three-year deal worth a base salary of $925K and could seek over $2-million annually.
Like Kucherov, Nesterov is also completing an entry-level contract. His slide down the Lightning’s blueline depth chart last season means there’s less a priority to re-sign him.
New contracts for Kucherov and Namestnikov could use up most, perhaps all, of the Bolts’ cap space for 2016-17. They’ll have no room for Nesterov, let alone for any roster additions. Read more
The Boston Bruins efforts to bolster their defense via the trade market hasn’t panned out so far. The asking prices for available blueliners such as St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and Anaheim’s Cam Fowler are rumored to be expensive.
It could be time for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to consider his options via free agency. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty lists Kris Russell, James Wisniewski and Luke Schenn as possible blueline targets.
Russell, 29, is a top-four defenseman and shotblocking specialist. The 33-year-old Wisniewski missed all but one game last season to a knee injury. When healthy, he’s a good puckmoving blueliner. Schenn, 26, has a booming shot and plays a physical style.
This trio won’t address the Bruins long-term defensive needs. However, one of them could be a decent, affordable short-term option while Sweeney awaits for the trade market to improve.
The Buffalo Sabres took a gamble in mid-June when they dealt a third-round pick in the 2016 draft to the Nashville Predators for the rights to NCAA standout Jimmy Vesey. The hope was the Sabres would lock up Vesey before Aug. 15, the day the Hobey Baker Award winner is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
While the gamble may still pay off, Buffalo GM Tim Murray isn’t going to know whether or not he landed Vesey until the 23-year-old is able to test the open market. Vesey told CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty that he had a “very good meeting” with the Sabres, but the 6-foot-2, 201-pound winger wants to at least hear from a few other teams about what they could offer him.
“We have a little bit of a short list going that I’ve worked on with my agents and my family,” Vesey told Haggerty. “We’re going to narrow it down as best as we can, and get through it as quickly as we can on Aug. 15.” Read more
The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, but there is definite reason for optimism these days. That’s because GM Ron Francis has overseen a rebuild that has stocked the organization with an asset often in short supply – defensemen.