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.