NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Rangers are the winners of the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes.
The Blueshirts have agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with the prized free agent forward, who was college hockey’s top player last season, the team announced Friday. The deal is for two years, buf terms have not yet been disclosed.
Vesey, 23, was selected by Nashville in the third round of the 2012 draft and last season won the Hobey Baker during his senior year at Harvard. In March, Vesey rejected signing with Nashville by informing the Predators he planned to pursue free agency.
The Buffalo Sabres took a calculated risk in trading one of their four third-round draft picks to essentially gain exclusive negotiating rights with Vesey, but were unable to reach a deal. Sabres officials traveled to Boston to meet with Vesey in July, and the two sides also had talks this past week.
The Devils, Islanders, Maple Leafs, Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins were reportedly the others teams on Vesey’s short list.
The 6-foot-3, 203-pounder led the NCAA in goals over the past two seasons with 56. He had 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points and a plus-11 rating in 33 games as a senior.
Rangers right winger Kevin Hayes quickly took to Twitter on Friday to welcome his new teammate, whom he also played with as a kid growing up in the Boston area.
“Welcome to the @NYRangers @19Vesey,” Hayes wrote. “Childhood teammates to playing at MSG. Fans get used 2 this saying #thatwasvesey.”
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)