After completing his meetings with team representatives today (which include names like John Tavares, Jonathan Toews and Auston Matthews) Jimmy Vesey will have to decide where he plays his first professional hockey game. TSN spoke with a couple of front office members about Vesey’s future, and they bring up separate but interesting points:
He’s had a fabulous college career, and has earned the right to have this kind of interest from this many clubs, us being one of them. People are attracted to his leadership qualities; captain of Harvard, he’s obviously a very intelligent player on the ice and off, and he’s a guy who seems to have the ability to put the puck in the net, so when those types of players come available people line up.
Brian Burke, President of Hockey Ops, Calgary Flames (link):
If you look at the college free agents, they have made a dramatically insignificant contribution to our league. Tyler Bozak might be the best one. Of the 100 or 150 that have signed, most have very little impact. I think this player is going to play, and make a difference. I think he’s going to be a good player..but if you look at that group and the money the league has spent on their contribution, it’s a pimple on an elephant’s butt.
Back in February, when the Nashville Predators still held Vesey’s rights, GM David Poile spoke about his ability and future with the team:
We’ve had him here for our development camps each of the last two or three summers and he’s grown so much as a player and a person. Physically, he’s ready to play. As far as a college hockey player, he’s dominant in a lot of areas; one of them is his skating. Obviously, offensively he’s put up a lot of good numbers, so we truly believe that he can come in and play right away.
It’s clear that not everyone in the league is sold on Vesey’s ability to step in and be a difference maker at the NHL level, but the amount of teams that have taken meetings with him over the past few days would suggest they believe he at least will be able to step in right away. Vesey, or at least his agent Peter Fish, has only said that he’ll make a decision this weekend at some point.