Nashville Predators Jimmy Vesey a Maple Leaf?


Nashville Predators super prospect Jimmy Vesey is the subject of many rumors in the past week or so. He may not be a household name in the NHL hockey world but by the end of the NCAA College hockey season he could be known by lots of folks.

Vesey was the third round choice of the Predators in the 2012 NHL entry draft. He was the 66th overall pick and the Predators felt good about his offensive production that bloomed last season at Harvard. He led the nation with 32 goals and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award given to college hockey’s top player and the ECAC Player of the Year.

He also won the Walter Brown award, given to the top American-born player in New England. He beat out overall second draft pick in last years draft, Jack Eichel who now plays for the Buffalo Sabres and already has two goals. His coach at Harvard said this at the end of last season according to the Tennessean:

"“I thought this year, he really kind of rounded out his game a ton,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “He had a huge step forward and it was obviously an enormous part of the team’s success this year.”"

Vesey looked so good at the end of last year’s college season that the Predators were willing to add him to the team for their playoff push.  He decided to stay in school at Harvard and wait on his pro career.  In that same article, Vesey said:

"“They were really understanding,” Vesey said. “Since I go to Harvard, the degree is so invaluable that they understood why I’d want to go back.”"

He made the same decision after this years prospect camp where he stood out as one of the best players alongside Kevin Fiala, Vladislav Kamenev, and Yakov Trenin.

In an article on, Vesey explained his decision:

"“It was a really tough decision for me,” Vesey said this week at Nashville’s development camp. “I sat down with my family and we kind of weighed our options. At the end of the day, I just wanted to make sure I got that degree from Harvard because hockey is not going to last forever and that’s something good to fall back on. I’m going to wait one more year and finish my college season and hopefully sign after the year.”"

He said that the Predators were great and supportive about him finishing his education at Harvard:

"“They were awesome about it,” Vesey said. “I think I have a really good relationship with the organization. I talked to [director of player development] Scott Nichol, [general manager David Poile and assistant GM Paul Fenton] quite a bit throughout the whole thing, and they were really understanding, since I go to Harvard, that the degree is so invaluable; they understood why I’d want to go back. They were great about it.”“At the end of last year I could have joined the Preds for the playoffs,” Vesey said. “That was something that I had thought about a lot. I think that I’m ready to turn pro, but there is still room for improvement for me and college is a good environment to do that in. We don’t play as many games, but we have a lot of time at practice and in the weight room so I can really focus on getting stronger and faster and rounding out my game.”"

So at that point, everything was great, Vesey would go back to Harvard for his Senior year and compete once again for the Hobey Baker, finish his year and sign with the Predators, possibly for a deep playoff run. There was always the option for Vesey to sign with another team at the end of the year as he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent.  The fact that he came to the Predators Prospect camp and has such a good relationship seemed to circumvent that, though.

Enter the Toronto Maple Leafs.  They are looking for a young talented player to go alongside Steven Stamkos, who all of their fans are sure will sign with the Leafs at the end of this year as a UFA.   They hired Jimmy Vesey’s father, Jim, as a scout in their organization, reminiscent of college football teams that hire the father of a prized recruit as part of their staff. They also drafted Vesey’s brother Nolan in the 6th round of the 2014 draft.

Now there are rumors everywhere that Vesey will be joining the Leafs at the end of the season.  Fansided’s own Editor in Leaf wrote this article.  They wrote this:  “It’s ignorant to think the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t have an inside track on Vesey if he was going to head to free agency”.

SportsNet’s Elliote Friedman quoted David Poile in his 30 thoughts:

"“All I will say is we have a great relationship and supported his decision to go back to school.”"

And finally, in yesterday’s HockeyBuzz, Eklund says that he is a little more optimistic that Vesey will sign with the Preds but that teams are lining up to take a crack at him.   It will certainly be interesting to see how all of this pans out.  Hopefully, the Predators will have an award-winning player to add to their lineup at the end of the season.

Thanks for Jimmy Vesey photo by Kristen Jerkins Photography.

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