Updates on Vesey and Vermette – August 14, 2016
Increasing speculation on where pending UFA prospect Jimmy Vesey will sign, and UFA center Antoine Vermette is expected to sign with a new NHL club on Monday.
LATEST ON JIMMY VESEY
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports former Harvard star left wing and 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey will be eligible for unrestricted free agency at 12:01 am on Tuesday, August 16. The Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are among the clubs believed to have interest in signing the 23-year-old winger, who has also confirmed his hometown Boston Bruins are also on his short list of preferred destinations.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers are also thought to be among his suitors. The Buffalo Sabres, who acquired his rights from the Nashville Predators, are still hoping to sign him even if he tests the UFA market.
YAHOO SPORTS: Josh Cooper reports agent Peter Fish, who represents Vesey, claims some of the rumors linking his client to certain teams aren’t true. He claims there’s no specific team that’s the favorite to land his client, adding his camp is still talking to the Sabres. Fish said neither he or his client haven’t ruled anything out. He also expects some teams could head to Boston this week in hopes of speaking with Vesey.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall could attempt to sign Vesey once he’s eligible for UFA status.
TVA SPORTS: cites several sources, including ESPN, suggesting the Montreal Canadiens could be among the clubs on Vesey’s list.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien lists the factors that could determine which NHL club Vesey signs with. Family ties is one, as Vesey’s father once played for the Bruins and is currently employed by the Maple Leafs as a scout. Opportunity is another. The Blackhawks offer the chance to play for a Stanley Cup contender, the Rangers have a good track record of integrating college talent into their ranks (Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes) and Vesey could get a top-six role with clubs such as the Devils, Bruins and Leafs.
O’Brien points out money won’t be a factor as Vesey will be signing a two-year entry level deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vesey’s salary is capped at a base of $925K per season and $1.925 million in performance bonuses. At most, he could earn $2.85 million per season regardless of which NHL teams he signs with. No matter where Vesey goes, I don’t think this will drag on for long. He’s got a short list of favorable teams and probably won’t waste time deciding upon which one to join.
The Canadiens would certainly be a surprising choice, as they’ve been scarcely mentioned as a destination.
Ultimately, it’ll come down to the one Vesey believes will give him the best opportunity to quickly blossom into an NHL star.
VERMETTE TO SIGN ON MONDAY
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz cites a tweet from agent Allan Walsh claiming client Antoine Vermette will decide on Monday which NHL team he’ll sign with. Vermette was recently bought out by the Arizona Coyotes, becoming an unrestricted free agent. Walsh claims the 34-year-old center is considering offers from five teams, though he declined to name them. In 2015-16, Vermette tallied 17 goals and 21 assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vermette should be an affordable short-term signing for clubs lacking depth at center for 2016-17.
For those of you who don’t want to speculate over which club Jimmy Vesey will sign with, why not play “Where will Vermette sign?” You’ll only have to play it for a day. I’m guessing the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild are those suitors. What say you? Weigh in below in the comments section.