Jimmy Vesey may sign a deal with the Buffalo Sabres, but GM Tim Murray will have to wait for Aug. 15, the day Vesey becomes a free agent, to find out. Vesey said he’s still planning to test free agency and speak with a “short list” of teams.
The Buffalo Sabres took a gamble in mid-June when they dealt a third-round pick in the 2016 draft to the Nashville Predators for the rights to NCAA standout Jimmy Vesey. The hope was the Sabres would lock up Vesey before Aug. 15, the day the Hobey Baker Award winner is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
While the gamble may still pay off, Buffalo GM Tim Murray isn’t going to know whether or not he landed Vesey until the 23-year-old is able to test the open market. Vesey told CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty that he had a “very good meeting” with the Sabres, but the 6-foot-2, 201-pound winger wants to at least hear from a few other teams about what they could offer him.
“We have a little bit of a short list going that I’ve worked on with my agents and my family,” Vesey told Haggerty. “We’re going to narrow it down as best as we can, and get through it as quickly as we can on Aug. 15.”
Among the teams on that list will be the Boston Bruins, Vesey’s hometown team, and he said it’s been the plan all along to at least have a discussion with the Bruins.
“It’s a team that I’ve rooted for all my life, and it’s a team that I watched win the Stanley Cup in 2011,” Vesey told Haggerty. “I’ll definitely be meeting with Boston in August…I got to know Torey Krug a little bit through playing with him at the world championships last year. So it would be really cool to play with Torey and put on the Bruins jersey. It’s the team that I’ve watched for my whole life.”
There certainly won’t be a shortage of suitors for Vesey, who scored 56 goals and 104 points in 70 games over the past two NCAA campaigns. Haggerty noted that in addition to the Bruins, it’s believed the Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Sabres are among the teams on Vesey’s short list.
“To a little bit of an extent I’m a homebody and I definitely have a big crew of family and friends in the Boston area, so it would be comforting to have them around,” Vesey told Haggerty. “Like I said, a lot of things are on my mind right now [headed into Aug. 15].”
Gambling to get Vesey was a bold move by Murray, and he could still cash in, but no one but Vesey knows which direction he’s leaning. He could return home to Boston, but there’s a chance the opportunity to play alongside Jack Eichel in Buffalo is equally, if not more, enticing to Vesey than pulling on any other team’s jersey. Whichever route Vesey goes, though, mid-August will finally bring a conclusion to the NCAA free agent’s signing saga.
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