Free agent forward Jimmy Vesey is weighing his options but won't be signing with the Detroit Red Wings because he wants to sign with a team closer to his hometown of Boston, MLive.com reported Tuesday.
"We did our best," Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said. "We spoke to his agent about depth and opportunity. He said he preferred to play closer to home."
Vesey was a third-round pick (No. 66) of the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Draft. The Predators hoped Vesey, who won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award as the best player in NCAA hockey, would sign with them after completing his senior season at Harvard in March and offered him a spot among their top six forwards heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Video: Potential landing spots for UFA Jimmy Vesey
Nashville traded Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2016 third-round pick June 20. Though joining the Sabres would provide the opportunity to play with good friend Jack Eichel, Vesey did not alter his plan to pursue unrestricted free agency and became a free agent at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
The team that signs Vesey (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) will get a player believed to be NHL-ready who had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 33 games last season, and 144 points (80 goals, 64 assists) in 128 games during his four-season Harvard career.
The Sabres, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are among the contenders for Vesey. A decision isn't expected until Friday at the earliest. ESPN.com reported Monday that the New York Islanders also may be in the mix.
"I think we have a small number of teams that I think we'll really be focusing on," Vesey told NHL.com on July 7. "So, [Aug. 16] we'll start talking to them and see what they say."