Jimmy Vesey agrees to two-year, entry-level deal with Rangers

ByJoe McDonald ESPN logo
Saturday, August 20, 2016

BOSTON -- The New York Rangers have won the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes.

Vesey, 23, the reigning Hobey Baker winner, agreed on a two-year, entry-level deal with the Rangers, the team announced Friday.

Vesey became a free agent at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. In addition to the Buffalo Sabres, who owned exclusive negotiating rights from June 20 to this past Monday, Vesey entered the market with a list of seven teams he considered, and he met with those organizations over a two-day period, along with his agents, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli.

Vesey met with the the Maple Leafs, Islanders, Penguins and Devils on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he entertained the Rangers, Blackhawks and finished with his hometown Bruins, who gave the prospect an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of their new practice facility set to open this season.

During those meetings, the teams pulled out all the stops to woo Vesey.

The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane was in Boston for Chicago's meeting with Vesey. The Devils' Cory Schneider and Kyle Palmieri spoke with Vesey too. The Rangers' Kevin Hayes, a Boston native, has talked with Vesey numerous times this summer while both work out together. The Islanders' John Tavares was also in Boston on Tuesday to make his pitch on behalf of the organization. When the Bruins hosted Vesey at the team's new practice facility, numerous Bruins players were in attendance to greet him. Also, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also reached out to Vesey.

The Sabres' Jack Eichel, who is a close friend and has been working out with Vesey all summer, has also given his advice about the Buffalo organization.

Vesey and his agents started discussing all the options on Thursday afternoon and finally came to a decision on Friday evening.

Vesey was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round (No. 66 overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He played four seasons at Harvard from 2012 to 2016 and finished with 144 points in 128 games for the Crimson. He served as team captain his senior season.

The Predators expected to sign the 23-year-old prospect, but Vesey, by his CBA rights, wanted to test the free-agent market. At the time, Nashville GM Dave Poile said the organization had already received confirmation from Vesey that he would sign after his collegiate season concluded.

However, Vesey's agents said the organization was told before the Feb. 29 NHL trade deadline that their client would not sign and become a free agent after Aug. 15.

Nashville traded Vesey's rights to the Sabres on June 20. Even though Buffalo had exclusive negotiating rights until midnight on Monday, the Sabres knew of Vesey's desire to hear other offers.