One of the great battles for talent this year has been between the Boston University Terriers and the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. The prize? Arizona Coyotes first-rounder Clayton Keller. And it really looks like BU has a stranglehold on the St. Louis native’s services.
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
If Jimmy Vesey waits until Aug. 15 to hit free agency, he’s going to have a lot of options, but the Sabres are hopping the draw of playing with Jack Eichel and the promise of a real shot at playing big minutes are enough to lock him up before the NCAA’s top free agent hits the open market.
Sabres GM Tim Murray has already made it clear that he’s going to push hard to sign Vesey and isn’t afraid to use rookie sensation Eichel’s relationship with the Harvard standout to get a deal done, but coach Dan Bylsma told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen something equally, if not more, appealing: the promise of top-six minutes.
“First and foremost, he’s got the opportunity to play a top-six role with our team,” Bylsma told Rosen. “He’s got the opportunity to play in a top-six role with a centerman like Jack or Ryan [O’Reilly] possibly, depending on how that would play out…We can surround him with Jack and Sam [Reinhart], but even our veteran players are young players like Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane, now Kyle Okposo. He’s got a chance to grow with that group and be a great team. I think that’s the best opportunity for him in the (NHL.)” Read more
According to Mark Divver from the Providence Journal, the Buffalo Sabres sent an armada to Boston in the hopes of convincing left winger Jimmy Vesey to sign with the franchise. Vesey, whose rights were acquired from Nashville in the lead-up to the draft, is skating in his hometown and has a frenzy of activity surrounding his free agency decision.
As of today, NHL teams are permitted to get in touch with restricted free agents in advance of the free agency period opening July 1. Which is kind of like when Communist governments would hold elections. The fix is pretty much in. Chances are overwhelming that nobody is going to get an offer sheet, despite the fact you could make an all-star team out of the players who are available.
“Over the years you can probably count the number of visits teams have had with restricted free agents on one hand,” one agent said. “And I don’t think there will be too many this year.”
BUFFALO – Last night was huge for center Clayton Keller. The dazzling NTDP product went seventh overall to Arizona, giving the Coyotes a player with a Patrick Kane-like skill set. It was also a victory for smaller players, as Keller is one of the few top-10 picks in recent years to come in at 5-foot-10 or less.
But Keller can’t rest too much on his accomplishments in Buffalo; he’s got a big decision on his hands. Will he play for Boston University next season, or the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires? Is the AHL a possibility? There’s a lot of intrigue involved.
BUFFALO – So, who saw the draft going down the way it did? Be honest.
Yes, the top two picks were chalk. Toronto got their dominant center of the future in Auston Matthews, while Winnipeg added a savage scoring weapon in Patrik Laine. But who else won the night? And on the downer side, who lost in Buffalo? Here’s a breakdown.
BUFFALO – The first thing you should know about Tyson Jost is that he’s a character kid. He blew away teams at the draft combine with his interviews and it’s not hard to predict him wearing the captain’s ‘C’ in the NHL some day. The dynamic two-way center will go in the first round tonight but he’ll be the first to tell you he didn’t get there alone.