With the start of free agency less than an hour away, the Sabres made their first move of the day by acquiring forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
Vesey, 26, tallied a career-high 35 points (17+18) in 81 games last season, his third in the NHL. He's compiled 90 points (50+40) in 240 contests over three NHL seasons.
The left-shot winger won the Hobey Baker Award in 2015-16 as a senior at Harvard University, where he compiled 144 points (80+64) in 128 career contests.
What it means
Here's what Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said at the draft when asked about adding forwards this offseason:
"We're trying to build a group that has four lines that can score, that can contribute. We relied too much on Jack [Eichel], Sam [Reinhart] and Jeff [Skinner] last year. It's got to come from the development of our younger players, but also if we have an opportunity to add to our group."
The addition of Vesey gives the Sabres a forward who has consistently surpassed the 15-goal mark since entering the NHL. He has a proven ability to score at even strength, where he's registered 43 of his 50 career goals (including 16 in each of the past two seasons), and his 31 even-strength points last season ranked third among Rangers skaters.
Vesey adds to a mix on the left wing that already includes Jeff Skinner, Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson, while Victor Olofsson and C.J. Smith are both strong candidates to push for NHL roster spots in the fall.