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Vesey opting not to sign with Predators

Nashville GM Poile confirms prospect will become free agent

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey intends on becoming an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15. and will not join the Predators for their stretch run toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The news was confirmed by Predators general manager David Poile on Monday after an initial report by TSN's Bob McKenzie.

Vesey, a forward, was drafted by the Predators in the third round (No. 66) of the 2012 NHL Draft and spent the past four seasons with Harvard University. He was a runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in NCAA men's hockey, in 2014-15 and is a finalist for the award again this season.

Vesey had an opportunity to join the Predators after his season at Harvard ended Friday in a 4-1 loss to Boston College. He informed the Predators last week that free agency could be an option.

"On Wednesday, we received a call that they were thinking about free agency," Poile said. "That was the first time that that had ever been told to anyone in our organization. At that point, we kind of asked why and they said it was the attraction of free agency."

Video: COL@NSH: Poile discusses Vesey's decision

Poile confirmed the Predators offered Vesey a spot on the NHL roster immediately.

"To be clear on what our offer was to [Vesey], we offered him a position on our team playing on one of our top lines and playing right away," Poile said. "Obviously it was an opportunity for him to get experience this year and to play and compete for the Stanley cup immediately."

Poile still believes the Predators can offer Vesey the best deal and are the best fit.

"This is the first time I'm going to say this in my career as a general manager," Poile said. "I clearly believe that [Vesey] has received bad advice and bad counsel. A player usually goes to free agency in order to increase his leverage and to benefit financially, and that will not be the case here because whoever he signs with, he's going to get less of a deal on August 15th than he can get from the Predators today."

The Predators did not make any additional moves at the NHL Trade Deadline because they were saving a spot on their roster for Vesey, according to Poile.

But Poile said that he isn't giving up on trying to sign Vesey, and that he's going to try to change Vesey's mind in the coming months.

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