Historically, Jimmy Vesey had assured the Nashville organization that he would sign with them and not test free agency. After being drafted by the organization, and never truly committing to the franchise, they have responded with the ultimate fuck you. As we now know, that was false interest as East Coast familiarity and a promising Rangers lineup swayed the young winger into foregoing the Preds for a more lucrative team in New York. Not wanting to play in Nashville was cited for numerous reasons, but mainly it was an opportunity to win a cup. Why else would you not wish to play on a underachieving team? As of last season the Preds didn’t seem to have a fighting chance against perennial powerhouses Chicago, Anaheim or San Jose. Now as we know, the tables have shifted.
Just a short history of Vesey is necessary for this article. Vesey announced after months of speculation that he wished to test free agency after winning the Hobey Baker award. The CBA allows for a player to opt out of their exclusive rights 4 years after being drafted if they complete an NCAA stint.
Vesey entertained offers from the first group of clubs on his shortlist in Boston. Day 1 featured pitches from four teams, all of whom leaned on current players as part of their recruitment strategy: the New York Islanders (who brought John Tavares), New Jersey Devils(Cory Schneider and Kyle Palmierireached out), Pittsburgh Penguins(Sidney Crosby called), and Toronto Maple Leafs (Auston Matthewsattended). The other teams were likely Chicago, and th Rangers.
Buffalo traded a third-round pick to Nashville on June 30 in order to gain an exclusive 45-day negotiating window with the 23-year-old, who has been steadfast in his intent to explore the open market. Unfortunately this didn’t work out for the Sabres, but was worth the risk. Collecting young talent is difficult, and their stock of young American players is surely appealing.
Vesey expressed interest in playing in either Boston or New York, siding the rangers as having a better change at a cup run, and playoff consistency. Nashville was too far from home, a worse market and had he had no relationships there. The Vesey signing is compared to a late first rounder for free to the Rangers.
Vesey, who was drafted by Nashville with the 66th pick in 2012, was booed in his first trip to play the Preds. This is a trend likely to continue as the seasons progress. If Nashville wins a cup, the booes might even increase honestly.
The bitter irony is that Nashville would not be the same organization with Vesey. Some budding depth winger might not have a shot to crack the lineup, and this team could be much different. For all we know Nashville might not have made the playoffs, after all they were the 16th seed.
How fitting is it that the most public wish to not play on a team has turned so glorious for the supposed losing team. Heres to the Preds, the team that made it to the cup final, leaving Jimmy Vesey in their wake.