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Jimmy Vesey won't rush decision, agent says

Unrestricted free agent forward taking time to decide NHL future

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Jimmy Vesey is in no rush to pick his first NHL team.

Vesey, a 23-year-old unrestricted free agent from Harvard University, is meeting with his representatives to decide where he will begin his NHL career and may not have an answer until the end of the weekend.

"What we're not going to do is say, 'We're going to get it done [Friday],'" said Peter Donatelli, an agent who represents Vesey with the Boston-based management firm Global Hockey Consultants. "We believe it will be done by the weekend. Everybody would like to get it done as soon as we can, but we can't get in a position where we timeframe it and then have to make a decision on a certain day."

After declining to sign with the Nashville Predators, who selected him in the third round (No. 66) of the 2012 NHL Draft, and the Buffalo Sabres, who acquired him from Nashville in a trade June 20, Vesey became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday. He hosted representatives from seven teams earlier this week in Boston; four on Tuesday and three Wednesday, including his hometown Boston Bruins. It is believed the Sabres are still in the mix for Vesey's services.

Video: Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes continues

"[Thursday] was the only day that we talked about it in any sort of depth," Donatelli said. "[Thursday at 4 p.m.] was the first time as a group, as a team, we talked about it. … In reality, [before Friday], we've had one conversation about the meetings. We won't be rushed. It's the right way to do it."

Vesey, a 6-foot-2, 194-pound left wing, had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 33 games for Harvard last season, and 144 points (80 goals, 64 assists) in 128 games over four seasons.

NCAA players whose rights are owned by NHL teams can opt to forego signing with that team and become a free agent on Aug. 15 of the fourth summer following their draft year.

The maximum Vesey can sign is a two-year, entry-level contract, according to terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Since becoming an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, Vesey has gotten a lot of attention; there is even a #VeseyWatch hashtag on Twitter.

Donatelli said the process isn't weighing on Vesey, who has juggled training sessions while meeting with teams, and now his representatives.

Video: Potential landing spots for UFA Jimmy Vesey

"What's really important is to people in the Twitter world, it's been four days, but in our world, it's been four hours [of discussing the options]," Donatelli said. "There is an urgency to get it done, out of respect for the teams and the process. That certainly weighs on everyone's minds, but I'd just like to remind people that the process is not taking long. That's subjective."

Donatelli also addressed a report earlier in the week that said the Detroit Red Wings did not make the list of teams Vesey is considering because he wants to play closer to home.

"I'm not sure that Jimmy spoke directly to them, but where he picks will be based purely on a hockey decision," Donatelli said.

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