NHL Rumors: New York Rangers and Boston Bruins meeting with Jimmy Vesey on Wednesday

WORCESTER, MA - MARCH 25: Jimmy Vesey
WORCESTER, MA - MARCH 25: Jimmy Vesey /

The New York Rangers will attempt to woo free agent forward Jimmy Vesey on Wednesday.

Former Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey has boldly gone where very few drafted forwards have dared to go: free agency. Drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award in 2016 as college hockey’s best player. The collective bargaining agreement allows drafted forwards to become free agents if they don’t sign within four years of being drafted. Vesey went that route. He will meet with the Rangers on Wednesday, August 17. Vesey will also meet with the Bruins.

Vesey’s decision is going to affect how NHL teams approach drafted players and how players think about signing entry-level contracts. The Predators are already going to change how they deal with prospects because of Vesey. In his final two seasons at Harvard, Vesey scored 56 goals and had 104 points in 70 games.

Vesey has narrowed his list of preferred teams down to a select list. While it is hard to tell which team is the favorite, the New York Rangers seem to have a good shot at signing the forward. The Rangers have had good luck with players similar to Vesey in recent years. Forward Kevin Hayes, like Vesey, decided to become a free agent instead of signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. Hayes signed with the Rangers before the 2014-15 season.

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The former Harvard man has narrowed his choices down to the Rangers, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Chicago Blackhawks. Those are the only teams that have scheduled meetings with Vesey.

Vesey would be wise to consider the Rangers. He would be an excellent addition to their third line, plus he would get guaranteed ice time. However, Vesey reportedly wants to be at least a second line forward, but he doesn’t have too much leverage in that regard.

The Bruins are another strong suitor for Vesey, who is from the Boston area and grew up as a Bruins fan. He is unlikely to sign until this weekend.