The 22-year-old winger from North Reading was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, going 66th overall.
But he’s also one of the top-rated players in college hockey, plus his season with the NCAA’s Harvard Crimson has just come to an end with a loss to Boston College. That means the Predators are on the clock to get their man signed, as his college career is ending.
Nashville attempted to sign Vesey last season in an attempt to avoid losing their rights to the player they drafted, but it didn’t happen. He returned to Harvard for his senior season, which fired up speculation that he was going to run the clock and let the Predators’ rights expire, thereby entering the wild and woolly world of free agency.
And now, that conversation has started again. Nashville would love to get Vesey signed in time to give him a playoff run, but that may not happen anymore.
One of the advantages the Predators have is that they can put Vesey on the ice right away, which would burn the first year of his entry level contract and put him close to a bigger windfall.
But speculation has been running rampant that he’s more game to check out the open market, with his father hired as a scout by the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams expressing interest in his services. The Boston Bruins, for instance, have a history of scouting colleges for prospects. They are very aware of the Massachusetts native.
Vesey has good size as a winger and is capable of developing into a strong playmaker. He has solid passing skills and can play a physical game, too. In 2014-2015, he was the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and a finalist for the Hobey Baker award when he was Harvard junior. In his final year at Harvard he posted 46 points in 33 games, including 24 goals.
The Predators have until August 15 to sign Vesey to an entry level deal. If that doesn’t happen, expect a feeding frenzy as teams work to pick up this exciting prospect.