Mike Halford

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 23:  Jimmy Vesey #19 of the Harvard Crimson skates against the Boston College Eagles during the second period of the 2015 Beanpot Tournament consolation game at TD Garden on February 23, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Preds: We asked Vesey three times if he was going to sign, and he said yes


Here’s the latest from the Jimmy Vesey-is-going-UFA saga — on Tuesday, Preds assistant GM Paul Fenton went on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central and broke down, in significant detail, the conversation he had with Vesey prior to the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

The excerpt:

Fenton: I spoke with [Vesey] after the consolation game at the Boston Garden, outside the locker room [at the Beanpot Tournament, in early February].

I asked the player three times if he was signing with us. I said that I realized he was in a tough position, that I was asking him this, but we needed to know from a lineup standpoint, and for our trade deadline plans, as to what he was going to do. We would not fill his spot, because we believe he had top-6 potential to play for us.

And I was told that [he would sign with us].

Sportsnet: So what did he say to you, when you asked him three times?

Fenton: Yes. I’m going to sign with the Nashville Predators.

Fenton also mentioned that Nashville, as an organization, has always made a point of not asking players to leave school early, instead letting prospects decide how they want to dictate their collegiate careers.

This would appear to be in lockstep with what GM David Poile said about Vesey last summer, noting this particular institution held special significance.

“It’s Harvard, right?” Poile said. “We know that.”

Related: The Preds stood pat on deadline day because they didn’t want to ‘give away Vesey’s position on our team’

Bad news for Blues: Bouwmeester out indefinitely with ‘possible concussion’

Colorado Avalanche v St. Louis Blues
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St. Louis can’t catch a break.

After looking like they might finally get to full health after an injury-plagued campaign, Jay Bouwmeester is now sidelined indefinitely for what the club is calling a “upper-body injury.”

More, from the Post-Dispatch:

The veteran defenseman is dealing with concussion-related symptoms, but the diagnosis has not yet been confirmed. If indeed that conclusion is eventually drawn, it would be his second concussion this season.

The Blues are referring to Bouwmeester’s injury as an “upper-body” injury and listing him as “day to day,” but he’s already been ruled out of tonight’s game against Colorado and there is no timetable for his return.

Bouwmeester hasn’t played since the club returned home from a five-game road trip, which ended with a 1-0 win at San Jose last Tuesday.

Bouwmeester suffered a concussion back in January on a hit from Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, and missed four games a result. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots between the January incident and the fact that now, two months later, Bouwmeester’s being treated for concussion-related symptoms.

That said, Ken Hitchcock said the latest Bouwmeester injury is due to a “one-time incident,” not a lingering ailment.

Regardless, the setback comes at a terrible time as the Blues have just six games left in the regular season, and are also currently without another d-man in Carl Gunnarsson, who’s out with a lower-body injury.

With those two out of the lineup, St. Louis will ice a blueline comprised of Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson, Petteri Lindbohm and Robert Bortuzzo.

But considering that group shut out Washington on Saturday (and the fact the Blues haven’t allowed a goal in four games), maybe things aren’t as grim.

Rangers sign Notre Dame captain Fogarty

ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 25:  72nd overall pick Steven Fogarty by the New York Rangers poses for a portrait during day two of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 25, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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It took a while, but Steven Fogarty is finally a member of the New York Rangers.

Fogarty, New York’s third-round pick at the 2011 draft, has finally agreed to his entry-level deal. The Notre Dame captain signed on Tuesday, just one day after another “experienced” collegiate draftee — University of Michigan forward Cristoval “Boo” Nieves — also signed his ELC.

Like Nieves, Fogarty — a forward —  will report immediately to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford, and play out the year on an amateur tryout contract.

Fogarty just turned 22 and has spent the last four years with the Fighting Irish. He’s captained the club in each of the last two campaigns and had a productive senior year, offensively speaking — career-highs in goals (10) and points (23) in 37 games.


Isles prospect Schempp leaves school early, signs ELC

in the 2015 New York Islanders Blue & White Rookie Scrimmage & Skills Competition at the Barclays Center on July 8, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City.
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Ferris State captain Kyle Schempp won’t be returning for his senior season.

On Tuesday, Schempp — the Isles’ sixth-round pick in 2014 — signed a two-year, entry-level contract with New York, and was immediately assigned to AHL Bridgeport, where he’ll play out the remainder of the year on an amateur tryout contract.

Schempp, 22, has spent the last three years at Ferris State and had good success this season, scoring nine goals and 25 points in 41 games while leading the Bulldogs to a WCHA title and within a game of the Frozen Four (Ferris State lost to Denver University on Sunday.)

Related: Isles prospect McAdam forgoes senior year, signs ELC


Hey, it’s not all bad for Nashville — the Preds can clinch a playoff spot tonight

Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber
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Yesterday, Nashville had itself a major case of the Mondays.

First, news broke that coveted Harvard draftee/Players’ Tribune contributor Jimmy Vesey would not be signing with the club, opting instead to test free agency in mid-August.

Then, the Preds went out and lost at home to Colorado, marking the first time since Feb. 9 they failed to secure at least a single point at Bridgestone.

But like the headline suggests, things could get better tonight. Nashville can clinch its second straight playoff appearance and ninth in franchise history if it defeats Dallas in any fashion tonight, AND the Avs lose to the Blues in regulation.

That would certainly take some of the sting away from losing Vesey, the NCAA goalscoring champ and likely Hovey Baker winner. Make no mistake, this is a profound loss, as Vesey was promised a top-6 forward spot in Nashville — this season — from GM David Poile.

Speaking of Poile, here’s what he had to say last night about Vesey’s decision, and how it greatly impacted what Nashville did (or, didn’t do) at the Feb. 29 trade deadline:

Chances are we haven’t heard the last of the Vesey saga.