Mike Halford

Vesey camp says Nashville’s version of events is ‘not accurate’


As expected, the Jimmy Vesey camp — led by advisors Peter Fish and Pete Donatelli from Global Hockey Consultants — has released a statement in the wake of Nashville’s claims that Vesey said he’d sign with the Predators at the conclusion of his Harvard season, only to change his mind and test free agency.

The statement, per TSN:

After being fully advised of his options and upon the recommendation of his advisors and counselors, Jimmy Vesey shall become an Unrestricted Free Agent on August 15, 2016. The Nashville Predators were informed of this decision. Nashville now claims and it has been widely reported that they were without knowledge of this possibility and that this lack of knowledge precluded the hockey club from acquiring a player at the Trade Deadline. This contention is not accurate. The Nashville Predators were informed prior to the Trade Deadline that they should conduct their business as they saw fit, and that the potential of signing or not signing Jimmy Vesey should not be a factor in their decision.

The club has further claimed that the decision to elect Unrestricted Free Agency is bizarre and does not make sense financially. If this election was based solely in regard to money Jimmy would have signed after his third college season, burned a year off of his Entry Level Contract, and been eligible for both signing bonus and salary compensation. A full analysis of his options was conducted. Whether Jimmy will lose any money is speculative at best. However, it is believed such a a loss, if any, can be more than made up as a result of on ice and off ice opportunities in the City and Organization of his choice. Without question there will be excellent opportunities presented to Jimmy and his success, including financial success on and off the ice, will be determined by hard work, ability and the opportunity to choose the City and Organization that best suits his skill set.

The decision to become an Unrestricted free Agent was ultimately determined by what was best for Jimmy Vesey’s hockey career. This election, although unrelated to the determining hockey factors, will also allow Jimmy to graduate from Harvard University this spring. Jimmy and his family are very proud and pleased that this will indeed happen. The Harvard community and alumni have rallied around him. Jimmy is very appreciative of this support and the fact he will now be able to graduate.

Yesterday, Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton went into greater detail of David Poile’s original claims that the Preds had asked Vesey about his intentions prior to the trade deadline.

Fenton told Sportsnet’s Hockey Central that, on Feb. 8, he spoke with Vesey following the consolation game of the Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden. Fenton said he asked Vesey three times if he would be signing with the Preds, and Vesey (allegedly) replied “yes, I’m going to sign with the Nashville Predators.”

Nashville, who believed Vesey would slot into the top-six forward group, claims it intentionally left a spot open for the Harvard sniper, instead of filling it with a deadline acquisition.

In related news, a report from the Boston Herald claims Vesey is looking to sign with the Bruins once he hits free agency.

Coyotes sign Wood, acquired in Boedker trade

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28:  Kyle Wood of the Colorado Avalanche poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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One of the two unsigned prospects Arizona acquired for Mikkel Boedker has put his name on the dotted line.

OHL North Bay d-man Kyle Wood, taken 84th overall at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Coyotes on Wednesday, the club confirmed.

Wood, 19, is known largely for his size — 6-foot-5, 223 pounds — thought he did have a good offensive campaign this season, scoring eight goals and 39 points in 49 games.

While there was no specific reason given why Colorado never signed him to an ELC, Wood did miss significant time to injury during the ’13-14 campaign. He also had to work on particular aspects of his game, per North Bay head coach Stan Butler.

“Sometimes he gets caught standing still and that was one of the things that Colorado was concerned about,” Butler said, per BayToday.ca.  “He’s a big body. With big players it takes them a while to get their skating going.”

With Wood signed, Arizona’s focus will now likely shift to the other prospect acquired in the Boedker trade — Conner Bleackley, the 23rd overall pick in ’14.

The WHL Red Deer product has fallen on hard times since getting drafted.

Shortly after getting picked, Bleackley’s junior coach, Brent Sutter, said he wasn’t ready for NHL hockey.

Bleackley then barely spent any time at Avs camp last fall, getting sent back to junior after arriving in inadequate shape, putting forth what Patrick Roy called a “disappointing” effort.

In September, Bleackley — who never received a contract from the Avs — said his lack of an entry-level deal was “in the back of my mind a lot.”

Bleackley is currently sidelined with a wrist injury.

Panthers lose ‘best player’ Trocheck (foot) for rest of regular season


The news is in on Vincent Trocheck, and it isn’t good.

Trocheck, who’s racked up 26 points in Florida’s last 27 games, is in a cast and on crutches after taking a shot to the foot in Tuesday’s loss to the Maple Leafs.

Per the Florida Sun-Sentinel, Trocheck is expected to miss the remainder of the Panthers’ regular season — six games left — and could also be out for the first week of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

At 22, Trocheck is enjoying a terrific breakout campaign in Florida. He sits third on the team in scoring, with 53 points through 76 games, and is tied with Jaromir Jagr for the team lead in goals (25).

In fact, Jagr went so far as to say Trocheck’s been the team’s top individual performer lately.

“He was our best player for a long time,” Jagr said following the loss to Toronto. “It’s tough. Not only we lost this game, we lost our best player.

“Hopefully somebody else is going to step up, but he was playing so well.”

With Trocheck out, the Panthers have recalled Rocco Grimaldi from AHL Portland.

Jets sign Tanev’s younger brother

during the first period of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship semifinals at TD Garden on April 9, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Winnipeg has agreed to terms with Providence College senior Brandon Tanev on a one-year, two-way contract for the remainder of this season — a pro-rated deal with an average annual value of $925,000.

“We are very excited that Brandon has chosen to sign with the Jets,” GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a release. “Brandon enjoyed a tremendously successful collegiate career at Providence and will bring a combination of high end speed, energy, and physicality that complement the identity of the Winnipeg Jets.

“We have been consistently impressed by Brandon’s pace of play, his competitive level night in and night out, and his ability to get on the puck.  Brandon’s game fits that of the Winnipeg Jets nicely, and we are excited to add a player of his ability to our organization.”

If the Tanev surname sounds familiar, that’s because Brandon — who just wrapped a four-year career at Providence — is the younger brother of Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev, who himself was an undrafted college free agent from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Per TSN, “as many as a dozen” NHL clubs had shown interest in Brandon.

The 24-year-old scored 15 goals and 28 points in 38 games for the Friars this year. His biggest collegiate highlight was scoring the game-winning goal in the 2015 NCAA title game, helping Providence beat Jack Eichel-led Boston University.

It’s not surprising teams were interesting in adding Brandon, given the success his older brother’s had at the NHL level.

After a brief stint at R.I.T, Chris emerged as one of Vancouver’s top blueliners and, last March, signed a five-year, $22.25 million extension with the club, one that will keep him with the Canucks through 2020.

Columbus recalls prized prospect Milano

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Sonny Milano of the Columbus Blue Jackets poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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The Blue Jackets are primed to give one of their brightest young talents his NHL debut this week — on Tuesday, the club recalled Sonny Milano ahead of its game Thursday against the Islanders.

Milano, 19, was the 16th overall pick at the 2014 draft and has played well in AHL Lake Erie this season, with 12 goals and 27 points in 48 games.

A gifted offensive prospect, Milano has become something of a viral video sensation thanks to his incredible hands and stickwork, both of which the NHL displayed on its YouTube channel.

Per the Dispatch, Milano will make his debut against the Isles, which is a nice touch — he’s a Long Island native, and will get a chance to face his hometown team (granted, in Brooklyn).

Milano comes to the Blue Jackets on a hot streak, having scored seven goals and 10 points in his last 15 games. This recall is a good chance for him to pre-audition for next year’s team.