Jimmy Vesey has decided to sign with the New York Rangers, the club announced on Friday evening. It’s not the first time the Rangers have landed a highly coveted free agent – two years ago New York lured free agent Kevin Hayes after he elected not to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, Vesey’s deal with the Rangers is limited to two years with a base salary of $925,000 and bonuses. The North Reading, Mass. native was originally a 2012 third-round pick of the Nashville Predators.
During a conference call, Vesey said he was impressed by the Rangers presentation, which included general manager Jeff Gorton, head coach Alain Vigneault and Chris Drury, the team's Director of Player Development.
"It was definitely a tough decision, but myself, my agents, and my family were very impressed with the Rangers," said Vesey. "I just thought New York was somewhere I could play and hopefully stick in the NHL. They seemed to really want me and really believe in me, and that was something I was really looking for. After all the talks I thought this was the right fit."
After notifying the Predators that he would not sign prior to the Aug. 15 deadline, Nashville dealt his rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2016 third-round pick.
Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s player of the year after scoring 24 goals and 22 assists in 33 games with Harvard last season. During his four years at Harvard, the 23-year-old had 144 points in 128 games.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward will become the sixth Hobey Baker winner to suit up for the Rangers, per Sportsnet.
Internationally, Vesey represented the U.S. at the 2013 world juniors scoring a goal and four assists in seven games helping the Americans win gold while playing alongside current Ranger J.T. Miller. He registered three assists in nine games at the 2015 world championships as the U.S. won bronze.
The Rangers had no shortage of help selling Vesey on New York with the likes of Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, actor Jerry Ferrara and radio host Boomer Esiason all tweeting at him.
According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils were amongst the final teams Vesey was considering before signing with the Rangers.