Updates on Vesey and Vrbata – August 15, 2016

by | Aug 15, 2016 | Rumors | 62 comments

College star Jimmy Vesey becomes eligible on Tuesday for unrestricted free agency.

College star Jimmy Vesey becomes eligible on Tuesday for unrestricted free agency.

 More speculation on which NHL team college star Jimmy Vesey will sign with, plus Radim Vrbata could be returning to the Arizona Coyotes. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harringston reports college star Jimmy Vesey becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency at midnight tonight. The Buffalo Sabres currently own the rights to the 23-year-old left wing, who is this year’s winner of the Hobey Baker Award, and they’re still negotiating with the youngster in hopes of signing him.

Other prominent clubs believed in the mix include the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs. Because Vesey will be signing an entry-level deal that caps his base salary at $925K and also caps performance bonuses, money won’t be a factor in where he signs. Roster composition and the role he’ll play will be among the notable factors. The Blackhawks are rumored contemplating placing Vesey on a line with superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. 

The Sabres have yet to re-sign restricted free agents Rasmus Ristolainen and Zemgus Girgensons. “While talks on both fronts are continuing, it’s possible the Sabres could have a move in the offing for Girgensons if they land Vesey.”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Hine reports the Blackhawks are hoping to sign Vesey. In recent weeks, they’ve scouted him during his offseason training. If the Hawks signs Vesey, Hine speculates the young winger could skate alongside Jonathan Toews.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the Vesey camp sees the New York Rangers as a potential fit. “I think to any free agent, the Rangers are an interesting option,”said agent Peter Fish, who represents the college star. The Rangers also have two Boston College stars (forwards Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes) on their roster. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was originally reported Vesey would be eligible for UFA status today, but it turns out his camp will be notifying the teams they wish to speak with today. We could find out as early as tomorrow which club Vesey ultimately joins, as he’s not expected to take long in reaching a decision.

It was assumed the Leafs could be among the front-runners, as his father is employed as a Toronto scout and his brother was drafted by them. However, there’s been little mention of Vesey in the Toronto media. Perhaps their focus is on the Summer Olympics and the Toronto Blue Jays, but it’s still unusual that he’s not getting much attention. 

Girgensons’ stock dropped last season, which explains why the Sabres could be willing to part with him if they sign Vesey. It’s believed GM Tim Murray hopes to bolster his defense and had interest in Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler. Perhaps Girgensons gets packaged in a larger deal for Fowler? We’ll find out soon enough. 


ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports sources say right wing Radim Vrbata could be returning to the Arizona Coyotes, where he spent six seasons. It’s believed Vrbata and the Coyotes are working out a one-year deal that could be officially announced today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for recent speculation suggesting Vrbata, who played the last two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, might return to the Canucks for the upcoming season. The ‘Yotes could use some experienced depth on the right side. Vrbata, 35, could be good for 15 goals and 30 points in 2016-17.  


  1. Hopefully this whole Vesey thing will end tomorrow. He’s had forever to decide where to play so I’m hoping it’s over quickly.
    Vrbata apparently enjoyed his time in Arizona/Phoenix so if he signs a 1 year deal at decent dollars the move might make sense. If he has a good year in the desert he will be unrestricted again and in line for a bigger payday. I don’t see how there’s any chance he would re-sign in Vancouver as long as Desjardins the coach.

    • I don’t know why any free agent would choose Vancouver

      • Loui Eriksson

      • So because you don’t like the Canucks, you don’t see a reason why any free agent would sign there ? Solid reasoning.

      • He chose the Sedin sisters…

      • Why not? Great city.

      • Take Vancouver over Toronto in a heartbeat

      • I don’t see why a free agent would sign because they are going nowhere not because I don’t like them. Where did I say that?

      • Jammerz04 – Fans of teams like Vancouver, St. Louis and Buffalo should be thanking Toronto – not insulting them. If it wasn’t for Toronto’s drought the media would for sure be chewing up and spitting out teams like those three who have been in the league for nearly half a century and have NEVER won a Stanley Cup… I’d take Toronto in a heartbeat – if you’d pick Vancouver you must not take current franchise management stability into account – IMO using that as a standard Vancouver would be way down on my list…

      • Hasn’t it been over half a century since Toronto one a cup? Interesting argument you put forth even if it is ridiculous. There are thirty teams in the league if every one of the wins a cup it would take over a quarter of a century for them all to do it. The fact some tests repeat adds to the length of the drought. Adds to the achievement of finally winning the cup and explains why it is so hard to so, why teams can take forever to so it, and explains how impressive the achievement is.

    • Good news Vesey`s agent says he won`t sign until Friday the earliest. Let the wining begin.

    • No Ron he hasn’t had forever to determine where he wants to play because he has only talked to 2 teams in Nash and Buff…5 or 6 more teams will now make their sales pitch to him and then he will make his decision.

  2. I envision a line of Vesey/ Tavares/ Strome … From a Leafs fan.

    • Where does Matthews figure in your vision of the Leafs? Stamkos staying in Tampa should be a solid indicator to all that Tavares is unlikely to arrive in Toronto any time at all. Stick with the rebuild which Vesey could still be a part of. Matthews, Marner, Nylander and these types in a patient system under Babcock will become the Tavares’, Stamkos’, and Toews’ types everybody covets. I think four teams to watch are the Sabres, Leafs, Jets, and Oilers.

      • It’s just blatant trolling of the type you get from guys that can’t string together a short sentence without multiple grammatical/syntax errors. This is how simpletons – presumably angry at life – interact with the world. We had Bigbear before he re-branded himself and now a new one apparently.

      • Not sure you are complaining about there Dan39

      • Thought it was obvioua he ment he would sign with the Islanders..

    • I am predicting that he signs with the Islanders!! Sorry for the confusion..

      • Not many were confused by your comment so no need to apologize since every should know two of the three players were already islanders…:)

      • Antonio it appears if you claim being a leaf fan others assume if comment you make is a Homer comment. Glad I’m a Sens fan. Man being a leaf fan is tough imagine being a player. Haha.

  3. So why would Chicago have any interest in upsetting the chemistry of Kane and Panarin? I could see him on a line with Toews. There was a lot of “me first” crap concerning Vesey yesterday; well who would blame somebody for signing a contract that allows you the opportunity to start your career on a line with Toews? Who by the way is full value in comparison to Sydney Crosby.

    As for Buffalo signing Vesey; if they do their concern should lie with trading Evander Kane. He has two years left on his deal, eat some of his salary as you don’t have to pay top dollar for Vesey yet.

    I see Fowler’s name again and have been stating all summer that Kane for Fowler makes the most sense. Kane on a line with Getzlaf and Perry would give him no choice to perform. Add to that the rehiring of Randy Carlyle. Still not sure why Fowler’s name keeps coming up.

    I still think the Leafs, Bruins, and Devils offer good option to Vesey but my Leafs still need defence. These teams are trending in the right direction. I am not so sure the Rangers fit that bill.

    Having said all of this if I were him I would be Chicago bound!

    • If you are thinking J. Toews is full value to S. Crosby, I guess Toews will be scoring 374 points in the next two years to match pace for Crosby’s 11 year total. Chicago really does need Vessey to get those points.

      • It’s not just points. Crosby borrowed a page from Toews this post season and seriously upgraded his defensive game en route to a much deserved Conn Smythe. Toews is the straw that stirs the drink on every team he is a part of. In the Olympics who was the last guy all others high fived when leaving the ice— Toews not Crosby. Don’t get me wrong as I am a huge fan of both. Toews does not get the credit he deserves.

      • Steven: 10,5 a year for NHLs most crazy contract is credit enough! 🙂

      • You familiar w the defensive zone? It’s from your blue line back. Toews is one of the best in the league. Sid is not.

        Offensively Sid is better, but only marginally better.

        You dig?

    • Sorry I agree and mirrored your firts thought below before seeing this.

      • Toews gets more credit than he deserves. Solid NHL player but not in the same boat with Crosby. A top ten NHL center for sure. But near the bottom of that top ten list

      • @Chrisms really who would you put ahead of Toews. Other than Sid, I can’t think of anyone else better, a couple of comparables yes, better no

  4. I’m sort of surprised the Blues were never really reported to have interest in Vessey, they have a younger core now with the departure of Backes and Brouwer they could use the depth.

    • Blues need replace seasoned grit they lost. they have similar players to vesey up and down the top 9

    • Good point

  5. Yeah so the hawks will break up the Panarin Anisimov Kane line and find a different RW for the latter (Hossa)?
    Wasn’t that one of the most dominant scoring lines in hockey last season? In each contest Kane & Toews do see a few shifts with each other to ramp up the offensive pressure. Maybe what is meant is there will be occasions when Kane Toews & Vesey could see the ice together? Because it’s difficult to swallow making both Panarin and Kane less effective wth a line change.

    • I think Quenneville probably has last say on who is on who’s line and I put absolutely no faith in to a coach like that coming out before training camp or a kid signing out of college sayin oh ya this will be our new top line…this is truly got to the point of no return… Not only where this kid will sign but it’s now come to the point where media are musing over the decision of HOF coaches playing rookies with their 2 best HOF star players, excuse me if I’m not buying what the media is selling here. JQ will do what’s best for the Hawks not Vesey

      • That’s right Shticky, not happening with Quenneville and not happening with Babcock. And ditto Julein.

        In any case, I don’t think the kid is gullible enough to be swayed by promises that mean nothing. There is simply no such thing as a guaranteed role in the NHL.

      • Agree Shticky, nobody is handing Vesey anything other then a contract. If he proves worthwhile to be a top 6 forward during training camp and exhibition season, then he may get that opportunity to start there. That’s why Vesey is more likely then not (deflating) reviewing the left side of teams rosters that he thinks he can win one of the two LW spots and who might help boost his totals. Although I’m a bruins fan, they have a need on the left side, after Marchand and if Vesey could prove himself he could have Krecji feeding him the puck, but as said noway in heck Claude is just giving you the spot.

      • The very reason I said that there is no way they split Kane/ Panarin. Although Chicago had done very well with pairing young talent with proven veteran leadership.

      • I also have a hard time believing any promises have been made by anybody. The possible exceptions being Nashville and Buffalo, and that was likely the promise of an opportunity.
        First of all it would be tampering for any other team, while I am sure players on rumored teams can speak to him, I doubt there was any detail communicated through them on anything of substance.
        Although if he signs 10 minutes after the deadline, it would be hard to believe there was not tampering, so my guess is this will drag on for another day or 2 after the clock strikes midnight.

  6. I think it is just all politics. “You’ll be on our first line”, or You’ll be on our second line”. It’s nonsense for a team to promise that in order to sign someone. What if he’s terrible for 10 games next to Toews? Does it read in his contract “must be playing with Toews?” I’m assuming no. There are teams with holes to fill Ie. Boston’s top 9, Devil’s top 6, Rangers’s top 9; and that makes sense to sell that. However telling a kid, sign here and you can play with Toews, it’s just stupidity, you don’t know your linemates for the year and they constantly change for chemistry anyways.

    Plus every team has a gem that the kid should be thrilled to play with. Maybe he sees time with Bergeron and Marchand. Maybe he plays next to Tavares. Maybe he plays next to Crosby. Or maybe I just hate Chicago.

  7. Yesterday I speculated about dark horse teams and one was Anaheim.He’d fit in as their # 1 LW easily. I cant see it happening as the west coast is a long ways away from mommy and daddy for little Jimmy.
    Hurry up and sign Jimmy so we can start ripping into your decision !

    • Yes but the girls on the beach are oh so close

  8. This feels like it’ll end up a bust, it just does. This kid has the right to play it out this way, yes, but he’s essentially holding up proven NHL players while teams pin their hopes on Vessey’s decision. I had initially hoped the Flyers would lure him with a top line LW vacancy and the thought of playing with Giroux but now I hope they don’t even bid in. The rumours of him considering New Jersey, New Jersey!?, cause he likes it low key and should he fall flat there’s less media coverage and such. I don’t want an player who doesn’t no for sure if they can handle it.

  9. disclaimer: I didn’t realize the bonuses could amount to close to 3 million… my bad

    • But the bonuses don’t kick in until NEXT season so, for this coming season, whoever gets him will get him for the price of an ELC. Despite what others suggest, no one knows what bonuses will be involved until he actually signs a deal and are not retroactive to his first-year deal.

      • You are right George but in cases like this one it would make sense that they would be easily attainable no or what would be the point in the conversation…I despise this topic but it would make little sense to doubt that trying to lure a free agent with an ELC without him receiving the full value now wouldn’t it? He will receive nearly 3 mill per regardless of when it’s paid out.

      • I know THAT. All I’m saying is, for this coming season his cap hit will be the value of the ELC. That’s all.

      • George; I’m with you, although as I’ve pointed out before; you would put your cap problems till next year instead. No need for that.
        Imagine this for hawks; Vesey, Panarin both qualify their bonuses. Panarin should then be resigned with his and Veseys bonus being dead space next season. That would mean you have 2,575 + 2 in bonuses + new caphit on panarin: 6?
        Now you have Vesey and panarin for 10,5 with 2 mil due the year after again before Vesey should resign. The math is problematic. Sure this season is fine, next you’re screwed.
        Don’t think the hawks will risk losing Panarin because they want to look at Vesey.
        Multiple team will be in this bind.

  10. Vermette is a Duck 2 year 3.75

    • Srry 3.5 1.75 per

      • Good signing for the Ducks. I wonder if Ottawa was among the other teams that contacted him and, if so, what Dorion offered? Probably just a 1-year deal if they were among the teams.

  11. I agree with Kenn: Vesey has done nothing to make for a feeding frenzy around his agent……lots of hype that I cannot fathom..what, exactly, is his potential and promise? He will be a middling third line player, maybe.

    • Jon: I’m not sure I would call this anything like a ‘feeding frezny’. The agent and Vescey have been pretty quiet, which leads to all the speculation , but it’s not their doing. I think they’ve handled this professionally. Writers have written so much with so little information.
      Hope he signs with Buffalo, but Chicago has to been incredibly tempting.
      What makes you think he’ll be a middling third liner? Because of his successful college career? You’d think that if a strong team like Chicago has an interest, he probably has a good chance of succeeding.

  12. @ George O. Agreed good signing. Wonder what the press conference IA about tomorrow ?

    • Roy, they hired Roy…

      (Just kidding)

    • Considering the crowd they’ve assembled it’s either about the new downtown complex OR Melnyk is stepping down as principal owner ion favour of ?

      • Another possibility is to announce an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in 2017 to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

      • Ty. All good possibilities. If I had a guess ( and I had no clue until your answer ) it be the outdoor game. And new uniforms as well.

  13. Now I lay me down to sleep 4 more days of Vesey is sure to make most weep. Gaah can’t wait for training camp to start

  14. Can’t wait for the Vesey saga to end. He’ll probably be a decent player but really he’s just going to be “a guy”. Kevin Hayes was just as hyped if not more so, and also put up better numbers in his senior year. I’m not saying Hayes isn’t a good player. Also, Kyle Conner almost doubled Vesey’s NCAA production last year and he’s only 19. Like I said, let this be over soon.

  15. Also, noticed above the Crosby Toews debate again. I love Toews, but I’ll take the guy with the 5th highest ppg avg in nhl history.

    • I started the debate unintentionally as I am a fan of both. I just happen to think that Toews is full value in comparison to Crosby. He has led his team to 3 Cups and since 2010 has led a team capable of winning it all every year. To be honest you can’t say the same for Crosby. The duo of Toews and Kane are too overshadowed by the attention given to Crosby and Malkin. Wouldn’t you love to see Chicago/ Pittsburgh final? This of course before the Leafs/ Oilers finals start becoming an annual tradition!

  16. Vesey will probably be a bust LOL.