Let’s face it, not much is going on in the NHL world these days, but the Jimmy Vesey situation is certainly worth watching. According to sources, the Bruins are not one of the teams that Vesey is likely to sign with, even though he is a local product, but the Hawks are a favorite to land the big left winger. Vesey’s top three preferred spots are currently the Chicago Blackhawks, the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils (according to this same source).
This would be a huge get for the Hawks, who have an open spot for a winger and Vesey seems to suit the bill perfectly. So why should he pick the Hawks? Well, for one, they could stick him on a line with Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, which offers him an opportunity to score goals, be a part of a winning club and get national exposure so that when his next contract is due he can make more money.
Vesey has narrowed the field to a limited number of teams he will meet with, but according to these same sources, the Bruins are not likely to land the winger despite being on that list. But the Hawks apparently are. This is big news if true, because many had presumed that Boston would be a likely landing spot for Vesey because it is his hometown. The Hawks, meanwhile, have been pushing hard for Vesey.
According to CSNNE.com, “both GM Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville (are) traveling to Foxboro to watch the youngster play in the Summer Pro League at the Foxboro Sports Center.”
Now, we are all aware of the fact that Coach Q does not like rookies. But Vesey is more mature and he has an NHL body. He graduated from Harvard, so he is older, at 23, and his body is more filled out. He is big, standing 6’3″ and 210 lbs, so he should appeal to the Hawks as a sort of Brandon Saad-lite type of player. And I’m sure he wouldn’t have been traveling to see the kid if he didn’t plan on playing him.
Last season’s Hobey Baker winner will go through the interview process with the teams he has selected after August 15th, so a deal likely won’t be reached right away. The Nashville Predators originally drafted Vesey in the third round of the 2012 draft, 66th player chosen overall, but he informed them he wouldn’t be signing with them. In June his rights were traded to the Buffalo Sabres.
All of this reminds Hawks fans of the Kevin Hayes situation, where he didn’t want to play for the Hawks because he didn’t think he’d get playing time, so he went somewhere and while he got his wish, he missed out on the Hawks rings, so who was the true loser in that case? By the same token, other famous players have refused to sign with the team drafting them, and not just in the NHL. John Elway comes to mind.
Personally, I don’t like this. A rookie should have to play with the team that picks him. It’s such a privilege to be able to play professional sports for a living. Taking the route that these guys have chosen makes them look like Prima Donnas. In Vesey’s case, at least he went back to college and finished his degree, so good for him.
Vesey also won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championship and got a bronze as part of USA’s 2015 World Championships. His dad, Jim, played 15 games in the NHL and currently works as a scout for the Leafs. His brother Nolan was drafted by those Leafs in 2014.
Let’s keep our fingers, toes and other appendages crossed that the Hawks come up winners for Vesey’s services. Hey, at least it keeps the hockey fires burning at a time when nothing much else is going on in the NFL.