Jimmy Vesey isn’t a free agent yet, but in just over a month he will be. Several teams will make a hard push to sign him including the Buffalo Sabres, who currently own his negotiating rights. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Vesey has his sights set on Aug. 15 (the day he’ll become a free agent).
The 23-year-old isn’t interested in meeting with every NHL team, but he and his camp are in the process of coming up with a short list of teams he’s willing to visit. One thing is for sure, his favorite team growing up, the Boston Bruins, will be on the list.
“I was a huge Joe Thornton fan growing up,” Vesey told CSN New England. “He wore No. 19. I wear No. 19. He was my favorite player. 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.”
Vesey is conscious of the pressures of playing at home. There’s no doubt that suiting up for the Bruins will come with a little more pressure, but Vesey isn’t concerned about that because playing in Boston means he’d be surrounded by family and friends.
A homecoming seems to make a lot sense, but Boston isn’t the only team chasing him. Although Vesey hasn’t announced what his final list of teams looks like, CSN’s Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Devils and Penguins could all be possibilities for the former Harvard forward.
“I think it would be a little crazy to meet with all 29 teams. We have a little bit of a short list going that I’ve worked on with my agents and my family. We’re going to narrow it down as best as we can, and get through it as quickly as we can on Aug. 15.”
The Bruins, Sabres, Maple Leafs and Devils all missed the playoffs last season, so you have to believe that Vesey will have a good chance at cracking each team’s top two lines.
Boston lost Loui Eriksson to Vancouver in free agency, so there’s definitely an opening there. Toronto will likely have Auston Matthews on their roster this fall. Adding another winger wouldn’t hurt. The Sabres may have added Kyle Okposo, but there’s no doubt that they could use another scorer. The same could be said for New Jersey. They acquired Taylor Hall from Edmonton and they could use another offensive-minded option. As for Pittsburgh, playing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin might be intriguing to say the least.
Now, we wait for Aug. 15.