When unrestricted free agent forward Jimmy Vesey agreed to terms with the New York Rangers on Friday, he sent New York's fan base into a frenzy on social media despite the fact he has not played an NHL game.
After Vesey, who won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner in his senior season at Harvard University, had his decision announced, actress Susan Sarandon, a diehard Rangers fan who regularly attends games at Madison Square Garden, tweeted her excitement about Vesey's decision. "Entourage" actor Jerry Ferrara, who plays Turtle, joined her in welcoming Vesey to New York.
Rangers forward Kevin Hayes, who grew up with Vesey in suburban Boston, worked out with Vesey this summer. Hayes was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 24 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. He went through a similar scenario in 2014 when he signed with New York after the Blackhawks failed to sign him. Hayes took to Twitter to welcome his friend to the Rangers.
Former NFL quarterback and New York sports talk radio host Boomer Esiason celebrated Vesey's deal by posting this picture on Twitter.
The Rangers official Twitter included a picture of Vesey Street in Lower Manhattan to proclaim their excitement about New York's new forward.
Rangers fans flooded Twitter with the #JVtoNYR tag popularized earlier in the week by celebrities and athletes like Esiason, Ferrara, Sarandon and New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
Vesey was selected in the third round (No. 66) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators, but his rights were traded to the Buffalo Sabres on June 20 after the Predators were unable to sign him. The Sabres met with Vesey last month but could not sign him either, and he became an unrestricted free agent Tuesday.
Vesey chose the Rangers over the Sabres and a reported six other teams: the Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, and Metropolitan Division rivals the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils.