Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said he felt blindsided by Jimmy Vesey’s decision to spurn the team that drafted him and test the free-agent market this summer.
According to the Harvard star’s representation, however, Poile’s frustration was not warranted.
Vesey’s advisors, Peter Fish and Pete Donatelli, released a statement Wednesday saying the Predators were informed before the NHL’s Feb. 29 trade deadline that the 22-year-old winger might not sign with Nashville at the conclusion of his collegiate career.
“Nashville now claims and it has been widely reported that they were without knowledge of this possibility and that this lack of knowledge precluded the hockey club from acquiring a player at the trade deadline,” the statement read. “This contention is not accurate. The Nashville Predators were informed prior to the trade deadline that they should conduct their business as they saw fit and that the potential of signing or not signing Jimmy Vesey should not be a factor in their decision.”
The statement also touched on Vesey’s desire to graduate this spring, which he now will be able to do. Here it is in full:
Vesey, a native of North Reading, Mass., will become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 15, meaning his NHL future will not be decided for another few months. He will be able to sign with whichever team he chooses this summer, but a report early Wednesday morning from the Boston Herald’s Stephen Harris indicates his mind might already be made up.
Vesey, per the report, plans to join his hometown Boston Bruins.
“According to an extremely well-placed source within the Boston-area college hockey community,” Harris wrote, “the forward will opt for free agency and sign with the B’s.”
Vesey averaged 1.13 points per game over his four-year career with Harvard, racking up 80 goals and 64 assists over 128 games. He helped lead the Crimson to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances — the latter of which ended Friday with a loss to Boston College — and is a finalist for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
Thumbnail screenshot via YouTube/HarvardAthletics