Rangers Finalist For Vesey?

Back in the spring when then Predators draft pick Jimmy Vesey said he would not be signing with Nashville, everyone assumed he would be headed to Boston or Toronto on August 15th. As a Boston native, Vesey grew up rooting for the Bruins so obviously would love a chance to play for the team. As for Toronto, his dad works for the organization.

Then in June a third team was added as Vesey’s rights were traded to the Buffalo Sabres, where his long time friend Jack Eichel currently plays. A field of three. Sure other teams could pitch to him, but most assumed he would end up on one of those three teams.

Which is why, in the week before he is scheduled to officially become a free agent, it isn’t surprising to hear he is down to three teams. What is surprising is those teams are rumored to be the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Okay then.

The Blackhawks are easy. Everyone wants to play for that team. And if they are as interested as many believe they are, this “competition” is probably over. If the Blackhawks want a player outside of their organization, they usually get him. As for the Devils, apparently Vesey has a connection to their assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald. I guess anything is possible but I would be surprised if he picked the Devils out of all the teams that have interest in him. (Remember, the contract is standard so it just depends on what organization he wants to play for.)

That brings us to the Rangers. While a lot of people believe the Rangers are on the wrong side of the contender status, it is still an organization many players want to play for. The Rangers have been rumored to be interested from the start but I never believed they had a chance. According to Joe Haggerty of CSN New England in his post yesterday:

The Rangers have a couple of local guys on their roster — Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes — whom Vesey is familiar with, and there’s a good working relationship between Vesey’s agents and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton.

The Boston connection was obvious. The second part is interesting.

Personally, I still don’t believe the Rangers have a chance in this. They can’t guarantee the 23-year old Harvard captain and Hobey Baker winner a top six spot and in fact might not even be able to guarantee any roster spot. (Yes, he will probably earn one. But if that spot is on the fourth line, he’s probably better off in the AHL.) And if they are competing against the Blackhawks, who will probably ask him if he would like to fill their empty slot on the wing alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, it might not even be worth giving him a pitch.

But I’m sure the Rangers will try. We’ll find out early next week where he ends up.