With Harvard’s season coming to a close after a 4-1 NCAA tournament loss to Boston College last weekend, the hunt for Jimmy Vesey is on.
The former No. 66 overall pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL draft is set to become a free agent and could be a franchise changing addition that any team — including his hometown Boston Bruins — would love to add Vesey for a playoff run.
Vesey was one of the most dominate players in all of college hockey during his time at Harvard. No one has scored more goals then Vesey in the NCAA over the past four seasons — netting three 30-goal-seasons in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons and 27 his freshmen year.
Being that Nashville drafted the left-handed shot forward in 2012, they have until August 15 to sign Vesey to an entry level contract. After August 15, the North Reading native becomes a free agent and will be free to sign wherever he pleases.
This route is a popular trend among NCAA hockey players, having been taken in the past by Kevin Hayes with the Rangers and Mike Reilly with the Wild. But according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Vesey will NOT be signing with the Predators and will test free agency.
With Loui Eriksson likely departing Boston via free agency this offseason, the Bruins should go all in on Vesey.
Nashville provided an update Saturday on where things stand with the talented winger:
“Nashville Predators representatives, including General Manager David Poile, were in Worcester, Massachusetts, Friday night to watch Harvard’s NCAA Tournament game against Boston College. Vesey’s exceptional college career came to a close as Harvard was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. At some point over the next several days, Poile and Predators’ hockey personnel plan to meet with Vesey, his family and his representatives to discuss and reinforce his opportunities to begin his NHL career with the Predators in the immediate future.”
Getting Vesey to sign in Boston shouldn’t be a tough task for Bruins GM Don Sweeney. I mean, you’re telling me, a kid who was born and raised in Boston, whose father played in Boston during 1991 season, and who went to school in Boston for four years isn’t going to want to play for his hometown Boston Bruins? The kid clearly has something for Boston.
The Bruins have left wing depth with Brad Marchand, Eriksson, Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano but as the one Bruins forward expecting a big pay day this summer, chances are Eriksson won’t be here to start the 2016-17 campaign. Signing the goal-scoring winger could provide an immediate replacement at a cheaper price than keeping Eriksson.
While trading for Vesey’s rights and having him aboard the train for a playoff run would be ideal for the Bruins, it’s highly unlikely — basically impossible — and would be very costly for the B’s. The Bruins should focus on getting the hometown kid here this summer, or frankly, just not letting him leave and lock him up long term.