Jimmy Vesey’s free agency has been one of the summer’s most talked about stories, but the sweepstakes to sign the NCAA standout is finally underway. Vesey officially became an unrestricted free agent Tuesday morning, but that doesn't mean his decision will be coming right away.
Vesey, 23, still has to meet with several teams, hear their pitches and consider what they have to offer him now and in the future. Among the teams who have been reported to have a meeting set with Vesey are the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils, and there has a number of reports of interest in Vesey from the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. And with that many options, Vesey’s agent Peter Fish said it will take some time to wade through the information and make a decision.
"It's certainly not going to be tomorrow," Fish told the Associated Press’ John Wawrow. "I would say the earliest may be Friday or Saturday, but I wouldn't expect it to drag on much into the following week.”
Vesey’s decision will come after months upon months of discussions about where he’ll land. Originally a Predators draft pick in the third round, 66th overall, in 2012, Nashville was hoping to sign Vesey and bring him into the organization in March. The hope was he would be in the lineup for the post-season, but Vesey instead chose to remain at Harvard and finish his degree. With no deal imminent, the Predators flipped Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres on June 20 and he has had his rights held by the club since then.
The Sabres’ acquisition of Vesey’s rights led them to have some exclusive negotiations with the 2015-16 Hobey Baker Award winner, and Fish told Wawrow that “from Buffalo's standpoint, Jimmy is pleased with what they've done and said thus far.”
Unlike most unrestricted free agents, Vesey won’t be able to take money into consideration when signing his deal. He’s likely to land a max entry-level deal, but that would be no more than a two-year pact worth $925,000 per season with a possible signing bonus. He’s got the potential to earn more than his base salary if he meets performance bonuses, too.
Vesey heads into free agency coming off of two great years at Harvard. Over the past two seasons, he has scored 56 goals and 114 points in 70 games. He also competed at the World Championship for Team USA in 2015, notching three assists in nine games.
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