Right now, there are a lot of conflicting reports surrounding college free agent Jimmy Vesey. The Boston Herald reports Vesey has narrowed his list to the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. Jimmy Murphy of VICE Sports says that its down to the Hawks and New Jersey Devils, while other reports cite that the Leafs and Blackhawks are the two remaining teams.
Even though these reports are all very different, one consistency is that the Chicago Blackhawks are at the top of Vesey’s list. And it seems Hawks General Manager Stan Bowman & co. are doing everything in their power to net the former NCAA star. Adrian Dater of Bleacher Report says that Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will be part of Chicago’s recruiting pitch on August 15th.
If Hawks trot out Toews and maybe Kane too to entice Vesey to sign there, I'm listening very hard to their pitch.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) August 11, 2016
It only makes sense that Patrick Kane, who has spent his summer training in Chicago, is also there Monday to try to convince the 22-year-old to sign in the Windy City. The fact that Stan Bowman is calling on his two most popular players for this recruitment process shows how serious the Blackhawks are about signing Vesey.
Could these two men be Vesey’s linemates in 2016-17? Scott Powers of The Athletic Chicago speculates that the Blackhawks could offer Vesey a spot on the first line along with Toews and Kane, which would probably do the trick in terms of luring him to Chicago. So, what exactly is the background on Jimmy Vesey, and how does he fit into the Hawks salary cap and long-term outlook?
About Jimmy Vesey
So, who exactly is this Jimmy Vesey? Vesey was drafted 66th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2012. Since then Vesey has blossomed into a top-notch prospect, averaging a 1.08 PPG in four seasons with Harvard since being drafted. His father, Jim Vesey, played a total of 15 NHL games in his career, with the St. Louis Blues & Boston Bruins. Jimmy stands at 6’1″ and weighs in at 195 pounds, which is a solid frame at the NHL level. There might have been some concerns about Vesey’s attitude (after all, he did ditch the Predators, the team that drafted him). However, these concerns seem to be largely unfounded. People close to Vesey say the former Harvard student is a good kid.
Vesey’s rights are currently owned by the Buffalo Sabres, but his agent has made it very clear the former Hobey Baker winner intends to test free agency. What is the interest level in Vesey, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Monday? Sky high.
Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman, as well as head coach Joel Quenneville, have been spotted scouting Vesey multiple times. The same can be said for Devils GM Ray Shero, and Islanders GM Garth Snow. It is also believed the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning have some interest in Vesey.
How Does He Fit on the Blackhawks?
In terms of Chicago’s salary cap situation, the Blackhawks currently have $2.38 Million in cap space. Vesey will likely be given the maximum base salary for an Entry Level Contract, which is $925,000. Even if Vesey reaches some of his contract bonuses, his deal should be manageable under the Blackhawks cap situation.
Other than Vesey, who are some other Hawks prospects on the Left Wing? No one, really. With Vesey on Chicago’s roster, the four wingers on the left side project to be Vesey, Artemi Panarin (who won the Calder Trophy this July), Brandon Mashinter, and Tanner Kero. So the 22-year-old Vesey would be a welcome addition to the Blackhawks roster.
So, do you think Jimmy Vesey is a good fit on the Chicago Blackhawks? Make sure to comment your opinions in the comment section, including which other teams you think are in the running for the former Predators draft pick.