#veseywatch is getting on my nerves.
It's not all his fault, this endless speculation, swirling rumours and reported courting calls and visits from all the teams imaginable. And unimaginable:
Told #CBJ have expressed interest in UFA F Jimmy Vesey. Not seen as in the mix by most, but a willingness by agent Peter Fish to listen.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) 16 August 2016
But he's not innocent in the PR blitz either.
Perhaps he internalized all those fairy tales where princes and princesses were sent off on quests to sneak past sleep trolls and slay dragons or come up with legal perks that don't circumvent the cap enough to wake up Gary Bettman. Maybe he has always seen himself as the hotly desired prince idling away his time while everyone scrambles to woo him.
And maybe that's why it's all getting annoying. He should be looking at himself very seriously in a very non-magical mirror and taking a realistic stock of his prospects in the NHL. And so far, it seems like he's not doing that. But then, it's not clear teams are doing that either.
The Predators, the team that drafted him, started the ball rolling by promising him a top six spot out of the gate if he ditched his Harvard degree at the last minute and played for them in the playoffs. Which was absurd. Jack Eichel was not a top six forward out of the gate after training camp and the normal easing into a season on a much worse team with less competition for spots. It took him a while to get his feet under him and move into that position. Same story for Sam Reinhart.
Jimmy Vesey is neither of those guys.
He is more mature. There is that. As Stephen Burtch noted today, he shares a birth date with Josh Leivo, and they are both 23. Vesey should be anxious about his NHL career because, by the time Eichel is 23, he'll be starting his fifth year in the NHL. He'll be a veteran!
If Vesey is looking for maximum opportunity, he should be looking for a team moving up, but also one with more holes in its lineup than the improving team he walked away from last spring.
You could make a case that Toronto fits that bill. The big guns coming up are centres or right wings, and slotting in behind James van Riemsdyk at left wing is Joffrey Lupul, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, Matt Martin, and okay, it's not a bad idea to pick the Leafs.
But lurking in the weeds are Andreas Johnson, Kerby Rychel, Dmytro Timashov and indeed, Josh Leivo.
Both Vesey and the Leafs should be asking themselves if they think he's better than Leivo first of all, and those younger prospects in the second place. The Leafs can decide that more is better and competition for places is always good, but Vesey might want to ask himself if being waiver exempt when Leivo is not is a fight he wants to step into, particularly for the coming season when the Leafs roster is a big logjam of surplus veteran players.
His other rumoured suitors, the Bruins, the Blackhawks, the Rangers, the Islanders, the Devils, all fitting in what seems to be his geographic area of preference, should be looking at their prospect pools, taking a hard look at his probable production and acting accordingly. Is this dragon worth the trek up the hill to slay?
Vesey should be doing the same. Frankly, he and his agent should have managed to figure this out by now.
I feel like he may have made the most classic of mistakes and fallen for his own hype. He's not dithering over money like other famous free agents, at least not current money. He may be thinking way ahead and calculating what his real non-ELC contract will be and how much teams will have or be willing to spend. And yet, getting ice time now, racking up points now will make that first real contract more lucrative, so the dominoes fall in a Mobius strip, not a straight line.
If I were Vesey, I'd pick the Devils who have a star as their top left wing and a really nice guy who is 34 years old as their second. But maybe his timeline is more accelerated than New Jersey's, maybe he wants a better team now. Maybe he thinks he can be Jonathan Toews' newest winger.
If I were the Leafs, I'd seriously ask if he's worth the roster space and the commitment they'd surely need to make just to get him signed to not punt him to the AHL. Maybe the answer is yes. But no one making these decisions should be falling for the hype.
Allow me to introduce you to the Hype Cycle. pic.twitter.com/LsqXMCGfL1— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) 16 August 2016