As reported earlier, free agent Jimmy Vesey met with seven teams today as he continues to deliberate where he will sign. The Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs have joined the Buffalo Sabres on the not-so-short short list of teams that Vesey is officially considering. ESPN’s Joe McDonald learned that no decision will be made today, as Vesey will sit down with agent Peter Fish and other representation, family members, and advisors tonight to discuss options. A decision is expected Friday or Saturday.
There is no clear clubhouse leader among the teams in consideration so far. As could be expected, all of Vesey’s meetings over the past few days were reportedly “great”. Teams can only sway the Hobey Baker winner with their pitches of play time, team success, organizational culture, and more, as Vesey’s contract will be locked in at an entry-level $925K plus bonuses no matter where he chooses to play.
McDonald reports that star power has been in full effect thus far, with Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Cory Schneider, and several Bruins among those in attendance at Vesey’s meetings in Boston. Sidney Crosby has also reportedly reached out, and friends of Vesey’s like Jack Eichel and brothers Jimmy and Kevin Hayes have likely been in his ear all summer.
Those with an inside source within the Vesey meetings and mullings have not been shy about reporting their thoughts. Sportsnet’s Howard Berger says not to be surprised if Vesey signs with the Maple Leafs, but also warns that Buffalo is very much still in the mix. Mike Grinnel of ESPN New Hampshire confirms the theory of colleague Jimmy Murphy that the New Jersey Devils are leading the chase. DJ Bean of Boston’s WEEI hears that the Bruins excelled in their meeting with Vesey and are still considered major contenders, counter to cross-town rival Joe Haggerty of CSN New England who said that Boston is all but out. Many have become skeptical of the Penguins ability to sign Vesey, having just re-signed Matt Cullen and reportedly having reached an agreement with another college free agent, Notre Dame’s Thomas DiPauli. All is quiet on the NYC front as well, with both the Islanders and Rangers considered strong contenders, but little chatter to support either’s position. Perhaps the most accurate “insider information” out there is the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kruc’s take on Vesey and the Blackhawks, that they are just waiting for a decision from the Harvard star and that no known pecking order is in place.
With all of the noise out there about Jimmy Vesey and his destination, the best move for those following along with the storyline is to sit back and relax. A decision will come in the next couple of days, and no reports by Vesey’s sources (who have been all over the place thus far) will make any difference until the ink has dried on his first contract. In the end, one team will emerge triumphant, and our attention will turn to the seven who lost out and may look for additional scoring support before the start of the new season. Until then, #VeseyWatch rolls on.