The Toronto Maple Leafs have decided that Nolan Vesey is no longer in their plans. The team has traded the rights to Vesey to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional 2020 seventh-round drat pick. Vesey recently finished his fourth year at the University of Maine, and would have become an unrestricted free agent if he’d not signed by August 15th. Luckily the Oilers took care of that, immediately agreeing to terms with the forward to a two-year entry-level contract.
Vesey, 23, was selected in the sixth round in 2014 but was mainly seen as a way to influence his brother Jimmy Vesey’s decision after leaving school. The older Vesey, who now plays for the New York Rangers, was already rumored to be waiting out his entire college career to reach free agency instead of signing with the Nashville Predators. The Maple Leafs also hired Jim Vesey, father of the two forwards, who still works for the team as an amateur scout. While we’ll likely never know if that was their sole intention when drafting the younger Nolan, it never seemed likely that they would sign him after his brother chose the Rangers in the summer of 2016.
Now Vesey will start his professional career with the Oilers organization, after another solid-if-unspectacular season at Maine. With 25 points in 37 games Vesey actually set a career-high in scoring, but those numbers apparently still weren’t impressive enough to intrigue the Maple Leafs. More likely to spend his career in the minor leagues, he still brings size and a bit of goal scoring ability to the Edmonton system. He’ll suit up for Bakersfield next season and try to prove that he can produce at the next level.
For Toronto, if the conditions are met—which seems likely now that Vesey has agreed to terms—they can recoup some of their losses from the sixth-round selection. Though a seventh-round selection isn’t much, they would have received nothing had they let Vesey walk in free agency this summer. Now they can at least take another swing at the draft in a round that has actually provided a bit of talent for the club in recent years. Garret Sparks, Viktor Loov, Andreas Johnsson were all selected in the seventh, not to mention Carl Gunnarsson who has played 556 NHL games after being picked 194th in 2007.