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Friday, 19 August 2016 23:08

Bruins Lose Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes to NY Rangers

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The most sought-after free agent in the NHL finally made his choice, and unfortunately it wasn't to stay in Boston to play for the Bruins.

The lure of playing for his hometown team was not enough for Boston’s Jimmy Vesey, who signed with the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon.

The decision to suit up with the Blueshirts ended the courting of the nation’s top collegiate hockey player, as Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award after his senior season at Harvard.  He was also a runner-up to Buffalo’s Jack Eichel in 2015, and was named the ECAC Player of the Year after his junior year with the Crimson.  Vesey ended his four-year career with 80 goals and 64 assists in 128 games, which made him one of the hottest free agents of the NHL offseason. 

Vesey was originally drafted in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators, but chose to play in college for four years instead of signing a professional contract.  By waiting four years from his draft date, the North Reading, MA native became an unrestricted free agent, although the Buffalo Sabres made a trade in June to acquire his negotiation rights in an unsuccessful attempt to change the forward’s mind on free agency.

Vesey was pursued heavily the entire NHL, and recently met with seven NHL teams before making his final decision: his hometown Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Rangers.  Several other teams, including the Canadiens and Red Wings, tried to obtain meetings with the 23-year-old, but reportedly were told that he wanted to remain close to home, which raised the hopes of the Bruins’ faithful.

Many of the top NHL stars were present for the meetings that were held in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Jack Eichel, and Sidney Crosby were all in town, as were the Bruins contingency of Jeremy Jacobs, Cam Neely, and Claude Julien.  The Rangers had several celebrities and athletes utilizing social media to attempt to convince Vesey to sign, with tweets coming from Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels, Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard, Jets’ lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, and former Giants’ defensive end Justin Tuck.

Terms of the contract were not released, but it is expected to be a two-year, entry-level deal.  Vesey was reportedly looking to immediately start in the NHL and believed that he was a top-6 forward, which would mean that either Rick Nash or Chris Kreider could be bumped down in the current Rangers lineup.  The Bruins’ lineup seemed to be more conducive to Vesey obtaining a top-6 spot, with Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, and Frank Vatrano listed behind Brad Marchand as the B’s current options at left wing. 

The Bruins will host Vesey and the Rangers twice this season, with the first meeting coming on November 5th.

Although the season is over, our Bruins coverage will continue throughout the offseason! For more on your team, check out Bruins Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below!

Adam Belue

My name is Adam Belue, I'm from Fall River, MA, and I'm a sports fanatic.  I'll watch and write about just about any and every sport, even the fringe ones that aren't really sports like bowling, poker, and ultimate frisbee.  I'm a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and a self-proclaimed New England Patriots hater (and proud of it!)... which makes my job in a sporting goods store quite interesting.  I'm a big fan of the other local teams (Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics), along with the Alabama Crimson Tide and college football as a whole.  I may be a bit obsessed (or a lot obsessed) with Taylor Swift, and I've seen her in concert four times so far... some of the best times I've had by the way her concerts are quite the experience!  I'm also a huge tennis fan, and have played the sport for a good majority of my life.  I wish more people watched and appreciated tennis.  I'm currently a part of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox Beat Team on CLNS Radio, and post a weekly fantasy football and college football column during the season.