Minnesota Wild Should Sign Jimmy Vesey


Recently the Nashville Predators announced that their top prospect Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey would not be signing with the team.  This leaves him open to free-agency after 1 July, and the Minnesota Wild sure could use his services.

The Minnesota Wild have been draft picked challenged for the last couple of seasons.  Whether it’s the lack of picks to get quality draft talent, or just a plain lack of pick the right player it can be said that GM Chuck Fletcher’s track record in the draft has been met with mixed success.  Sure there’s been some big pick-ups like Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin, but there’s been some busts like Phillips or Bulmer.  One thing is for certain the Wild, like many other teams, have their work cut out for them in the inexact science of drafting.

The typical player that is taken in the draft is often 18 or 19 years old with many years of maturation ahead of them.  Only in very rare occasions are the drafted players NHL ready.   More than likely the player picked will need to continue to in junior level hockey, European league, or the NCAA to gain the valuable playing time that will get them ready to jump to the top of the professional ladder to the NHL.  Sometimes the player just never matures to the point that the NHL team will be able to use them.

This offseason the Wild have a chance to ignore all of that uncertainty and pick up a talent that has proven himself in the NCAA for four years.  As we’ve discussed before the current CBA states that players coming out of the NCAA keep the rights of the player for 30 days after they leave college.  The Nashville Predators have announced that their former 3rd round pick Jimmy Vesey has officially opted not to sign with the team, and thus will be a free-agent able to be signed by any team to an entry-level deal.

Vesey was a standout forward at Harvard for four years with 144 points (80 goals and 64 assists).  He’s been described as a “big winger” who possesses excellent offensive zone instincts with a great up and down game.  His goal scoring touch was so dominating that it earned him a nod as Hobey Baker finalist the last two NCAA seasons in a row.

Vesey has been described being almost NHL ready now.  He could have made the jump to the pro-game last year, but opted instead to finish out his senior year at Harvard.  Predators GM Dave Polie told ESPN that he felt Vesey was so talented that they wanted “Vesey to join them in Nashville once his season ended.”   Poile goes on to say that they “made it clear Vesey had a spot on one of their top lines waiting.”

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When looking at Vesey you see a player with very little chance to bust, because he’s already done so much maturation.  It only makes sense that a Minnesota Wild team that is looking for young talented forwards, should make a run to sign him.

It’s no secret that the Wild need scoring in their system.  Iowa has been abysmal the last two seasons and the team was dead last in goals for in the 2015-16 season.  That says the Wild do not have a lot of goal scoring talent waiting in the wings and will need to stock up.  Vesey is a player that offers a stock up in the goal scoring department.  Also with him being so advanced in his development, he could easily see NHL action very quickly.   And if he performs like Polie predicted he could stay up with Minnesota and make an impact on the scoreboard.

Right now it’s rumored that the Bostonian Vesey has drawn interest from the Bruins, Rangers, and Maple Leafs for sure so the completion will be stiff.  The Wild can make a run at Vesey if they just make sure to trim a little fat off their roster.  More than likely Vesey will demand a salary somewhere in neighborhood of $1 million.  That’s seems like a lot, but he’s pretty much NHL ready and if the Wild decide to part ways with say Justin Fontaine his $1 million hit will cover that bill.

Next: Fletcher Could Be Next To Go

Sure Vesey might be an expensive alternative to a drafted player, but the price of signing him really is paying to reduce risk and represents a sound investment overall.  The Wild don’t need a lot of risk right now as they are looking to win in the next couple of years.  A player like Vesey instantly adds to that effort and the future as well.