Monday is decision day for the most sought after college free agent in the last few years. Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey’s story is well known at this point. Drafted by Nashville, he turned them down after Harvard’s season was done to become a free agent, which was well within his rights despite all the pearl clutching down in Grand Ole Opry land.
In any event, the teams in the hunt are Buffalo, (after trading for Vesey’s rights), Boston, Toronto, Chicago, NYR, and the Devils (really?) Each team can only offer the same, two year entry-level deal, so it comes down to opportunity, competitiveness, coaching, playing time, and who knows what else.
So, because it’s August and 100 degrees, let’s check out the teams and why Vesey would want to sign there:
1. Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel. That’s about it. Other than that, it’s Buffalo. Evander Kane is a punk, and they have no goalie worth a damn. Sure, they’re building something that should be decent soon, but c’mon, it’s Buffalo.
2. Chicago Blackhawks: Um, yup. The chance to play with that wagon has to be tempting, particularly if they slot him in the Top 6.
3. New Jersey Devils: They have Taylor Hall, and Cory Schneider, that’s about it. I mean, this is what the Devils are best known for:
Please, it won’t be the Devils.
4. New York Rangers: A team that seems to be on the back 9 of contender-ship. King Henrik is getting older and that defense is a disaster. They’re not beating Pittsburgh or Washington, or event the Isles, anytime soon. Pass.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: This is intriguing. with Auston Matthews, Marner, Nylander, etc., the Leafs could be really good really fast. Now, Frederik Andersen in goal is a question mark, as is the defense, but Toronto would be on my list. Plus they’d PAY his ass in the 2nd contract, that’s just what they do.
6. Boston Bruins: Now. if you grew up here, went to school here, essentially never left, would you want to stay to start your career? A lot, and I mean a a lot, of people do, but it’s different as an athlete. You and me won’t have sports radio and hack columnists and handsome, albeit bald, bloggers hammering you for any semblance of struggle or perceived under performance. Whether Vesey wants to deal with that is a big question. But more importantly, the direction of the team should be at the top of his list.
The B’s are likely going to struggle next year, especially if the defense stays as is. But on the horizon could be, and I cannot stress COULD BE enough, the next really good Bruins team. An already solid core, prospects galore, and some money to spend, makes the Bs pretty tantalizing. Now, is Claude Julien the right coach? Who knows. I would say he’s better than some of the coaches on the other teams, with exception of Quennville or Mike Babcock (hot taek: Babcock’s overrated), but will he be here next year? If you’re Vesey, that’s the big question, organizational stability. Hell, who knows, Ted Donato could be the next coach.
If I’m Vesey, it comes down to Boston or Chicago. Right now, Chicago wins. A year or two from now? Who knows.
We’ll all know Monday…