Jimmy Vesey (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Jimmy Vesey officially becomes a free agent on Monday, and the 23-year-old is narrowing his list of teams he hopes to hear from. Vesey’s agent said there are several teams in the running, but the decision will come down to finding the right fit now and in the future.
He was drafted by Nashville, traded to Buffalo but could end up signing somewhere else altogether. No matter where he ends up, though, the Jimmy Vesey free agency sweepstakes is nearing its culmination.
Come Monday, Vesey, 23, will be free to sign with whichever team he pleases as he becomes an unrestricted free agent, and according to his agent, Peter Fish, the Harvard standout won’t be taking a trip around the league to decide where he wants to end up. Instead, Vesey will have a list of four or five teams that he wants to meet with to discuss his future, after which he’ll make his decision and put an end to what has been months of talk about his destination.
“What Jimmy wants to do is see it through,” Fish said, via the Boston Herald’s Stephen Harris. “He’s wanted to go to free agency and he’s going to see it through. There’s about four to five teams other than Buffalo that he wants to hear from. And then after that he’s going to make a decision.”
Among the teams Vesey will reportedly hear from are the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks. He’s already talked contract with the Buffalo Sabres, too, who have owned his exclusive negotiating rights since mid-June when those rights were acquired from the Nashville Predators for a third-round pick.
Vesey, a Boston native, had previously said that he was interested in signing with the Bruins, but CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty reported that Vesey’s hometown team isn’t one of the favorites to land the youngster. The decision will come down to finding the right fit, Fish told Harris, and Vesey has done his homework.
“We’ve looked at depth charts with some teams and talked about them,” Fish told Harris. “There’s obviously a lot of thought that goes into it: the city, the coach, the GM, the salary structure, how a team treats their players in the second and third contracts down the road.”
The reason it will come down to much more than simply salary and contract offer is because Vesey is locked into an entry-level deal regardless of where he signs. Teams can offer the max salary on a two-year entry-level contract, but nothing more than that. The price tag makes him an attractive free agent addition for teams, as does the fact he’s scored 56 goals in 70 games over the past two NCAA campaigns.
Whatever Vesey decides, though, there’s an end in sight for the free agency saga that has been dragging on since before the trade deadline.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.