Don’t count on the Rangers landing Jimmy Vesey

jimmy-veseyHighly touted UFA college free agent, Jimmy Vesey will be able to sign with an NHL team this coming Monday (8/15), but don’t count on him wearing a Rangers sweater.

The Leading Candidates

The Buffalo Sabres hold his rights and remain a viable option but the Toronto Maples Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks are the likely landing spots.

Why Toronto?

Per Leafs Nation:

Perhaps Toronto’s biggest selling point remains the family connection; his dad, Jim Vesey Sr, works for the team as a scout while his brother Nolan was drafted by the Leafs in 2014 and remains in the system.

When it comes to family connections like this, there’s no wonder that the Leafs are the lead dogs in this race. They are also a young team and Vesey will almost be guaranteed a big role to start his NHL career. Remember, he’s not 18 but a 23 year old coming out of college. Big Difference!

Why Chicago?

We all know that the Blackhawks are cap strapped and a young offensive talent like Vesey is exactly what they want and need. So much so that they may tempt him with the possibility of playing on a line with Jonathan Toews and/or Patrick Kane right out of the gate.

Plus coach, Joel Quenneville has a pretty good track record with turning young players into stars in the NHL. These factors make it pretty hard for Vesey to not put the Hawks at the very top of his list.

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The Bonus Factors Could Hurt Both Teams

Per Leafs Nation:

There’s also a matter of bonuses to consider. Toronto has a lot of entry-level deals with performance incentives on the line, and one would imagine that Vesey will get the full $950,000 + $2.85 million from a team. He’s unlikely to hit them all, or even most, but it’s possible that the team is a little less aggressive given Lamoriello’s history (outside of Matthews) and how much they’ve already got waiting in the balance.

So while Lou isn’t crazy about it, he still can likely do it unless he just wants to be stubborn or frugal. On the other hand, the Hawks will have a hard time go the max.

Per The Athletic:

The Blackhawks will look to sign Vesey. So, let’s say the Blackhawks sign Vesey at $925,000. That puts them at $70,634,294 and with $2,365,706 of remaining cap space. The Blackhawks have plenty of cap space, but that’s just one part of the equation. The other is the potential performance bonuses. If the Blackhawks’ opening roster includes Panarin, Vesey, Campbell, Kempny, Schmaltz and Hinostroza, they would have $7.22 million in potential performance bonuses. Add that to what’s already on the books and the Blackhawks would be at $77,854,294 and just below the $78,475,000 limit.

If I understand the NHL salary cap, if you are over the cap by season’s end that overage will be applied as a penalty to the following season’s cap. So the Hawks are playing with fire.

Where will Vesey Land?

My bet would the Leafs. Lou needs to cough up the money and please his fan base. They’ve waited long enough. If the Rangers have a chance at this point, I would rank it as slim to none.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore