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Predators are ‘hopeful’ they’ll be able to sign Jimmy Vesey

Czech Republic Hockey Worlds

Jimmy Vesey of USA, left, challenges for the puck with Slovenia’s Ziga Pance, right, during the Hockey World Championships Group B match in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Sunday, May 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)


Now that Harvard’s hockey team has been eliminated from the Frozen Four, “Vesey Watch” is officially on. Jimmy Vesey was a third round pick, 66th overall, in the 2012 draft. His stock has risen considerably since his draft day. He had 32 goals and 58 points in 37 games with Harvard in 2014-15 and he posted 24 goals and 46 points in 2015-16.

Vesey also had three assists in nine games during last year’s World Hockey Championship for Team USA.

The 22-year-old has an interesting decision to make in the coming days, weeks or months. Will he stay with the team that drafted him or does he opt to become a free agent?

With his NCAA career coming to an end, Vesey will have to decide where he wants to play at the next level. The Predators will own Vesey’s rights until Aug. 15. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement by then, he’ll hit the open market.

Some have speculated that Vesey could opt to join the Maple Leafs. Jimmy’s father, Jim, currently serves as a scout for the Leafs, but Nashville is still hopeful that they’ll be able to get a deal done with their prospect.

Preds head coach Peter Laviolette addressed the issue on Saturday:

The Predators should have a leg up on the competition because they can offer Vesey an entry-level contract right away, but if Vesey has his heart set on joining another team there’s nothing Nashville can do about that.