Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and New York Islanders center John Tavares are a few of the star players who reportedly have helped in the recruitment of unrestricted free agent forward Jimmy Vesey.
Vesey reportedly met with seven teams Tuesday and Wednesday near his home in Boston: The Boston Bruins, Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Islanders, New York Rangers, Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Buffalo Sabres, who had exclusive negotiating rights with Vesey until Tuesday, also are considered a possibility but did not meet with Vesey this week.
ESPN.com reported the Blackhawks had Kane, the reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner, as part of their contingent in Boston, and the Islanders brought along captain John Tavares. Crosby, the Penguins captain, didn't make the trip but did call Vesey to state why he should sign with the 2016 Stanley Cup champion. The Devils had goalie Cory Schneider and forward Kyle Palmieri as part of their recruitment effort. The Rangers had Kevin Hayes, like Vesey a Boston native, talk up the advantage of signing with them.
The Maple Leafs had Auston Matthews, the first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, as part of their pitch meeting, according to the Toronto Sun.
The maximum Vesey can sign is a two-year, entry-level contract, according to terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Vesey, 23, had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 33 games as a senior at Harvard University last season and won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA player.
He had been a third-round pick (No. 66) of the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Draft, and the Predators hoped to sign him after his season at Harvard ended in March, offering Vesey a spot among their top six forwards heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nashville traded Vesey's rights to the Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft on June 20. He did not sign with Buffalo and became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.
Vesey, considered to be an NHL-ready player, had 144 points (80 goals, 64 assists) in 128 games in four seasons at Harvard. He had three assists in nine games to help the United States win the bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.